BULATS Writing Part One- Formality


Levels of formality/ politeness in BULATS emails practice

Formality in BULATS Writing Part One

Look at the exam question below and discuss the formality, paragraphing and opening and closing lines, then compare your ideas with the answer under the folded line.

You have received this email from a colleague, James Jameson, asking to meet on Thursday morning.

Hi Alex 

Hope you had a good weekend. 

Are you free at all this week to talk about Project XXXP? Thursday before lunch is best for me, but I’ve got a couple of other slots free if you’re busy then.

Can you let me know today or tomorrow so I can get ready?




Write an email back:

-       State that you aren’t available

-       Give the reason why

-       Suggest another time and day

Write about 60 words.



Thanks for your quick reply and invitation to meet – we certainly need to talk about it more! Can’t make it on Thursday a.m, as I’ve got a meeting with a client till 1. Sorry about that. How’s Friday next week at around 2 for you?

Can you let me know by Wednesday lunchtime if that’s okay?



59 words 


Rewrite the email above to make it suitable for the different situation of meeting a potential new customer, then compare with the answer on the next page.


Suggested answer

Dear Mr Jameson,

Thank you for inviting me to meet.

I’m afraid I’m not available until lunchtime on Thursday 22nd as I have a meeting with another client. However, I am free all day on Friday if that is convenient with you.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards

Alex Case

53 words


What are the general differences between formal and informal emails?

Terms of Use

Lesson plans & worksheets can be used by teachers without any fee in the classroom; however, please ensure you keep all copyright information and references to UsingEnglish.com in place.

You will need Adobe Reader to view these files.

Get Adobe Reader