You are here

An email request

Learn how to write a formal email to make a request.

Do the preparation task first. Then read the text and tips and do the exercises.

Reading text

Dear Ms Leitman,

I am writing to request your help following a change in my circumstances.

As you know, I am enrolled on the Basic Spanish course at your college, which starts in September. However, due to unforeseen family events, I have had to leave the country for a while to assist my parents in Hong Kong.

At present it is not clear when I will be able to return and unfortunately I will not be able to start the course as planned.

I would like to request a refund for the course fees already paid. I apologise for the short notice and for any inconvenience caused. In the event that a refund is not possible, I would be grateful if you could postpone my enrolment until my return.

Thank you in advance for your help and I hope to be able to update you on the situation soon.

Yours sincerely,

Honor Singh


  1. Organise the letter clearly into:
    • The reason for writing
    • The nature of the problem
    • The outcome you'd like
    • An apology for the inconvenience
  2. Don't go into too much personal detail when explaining the problem, as this is a formal situation with a person you don't know well.
  3. To make polite requests use the phrase I would be grateful if you could …
  4. Using nouns instead of verbs can make your writing sound more formal. (For example, instead of My circumstances have changed, say There has been a change in my circumstances.)
  5. Sign off Yours sincerely, if you know the person's name and Yours faithfully, if you don't.



Language level

Advanced: C1


Dear mr jhon,
Iam writing this email requesting a change in my circumstances.
As you know, iam a shift employee currently working in shift A. I have enrolled for an English language course recently. However due to the ongoing shift schedule I will not be able to start the course as planned.
I would like to request for a slight change in my shift schedule.i apologize for the short notice and any Inconvenience caused. In the event if any change is not possible, i would be grateful to you if you could notify me in advance. Thankyu in advance for your help and i hope to be able to update you in a situation soon.
Yours sincerely,

Just of recent. I had to cancel something due to unforeseen situation.

In 2016 I had to cancel my tourist trip to Spain because of currency shortage . The us dolor and the euro was not available in the banks.

Last summer I organised a visit of a university in Germany. However, due to an unforeseen issue I had to cancel the trip. Since it was a professional trip the ticket was purchased by my employer. Furthermore, my host was providing me the accommodation. Fortunately, both my boss and my host in Germany understood the problem and accepted my apologies. Hence, it went smooth without creating a big problem. However, I was very upset of missing the trip as it was a very beneficial mission. Anyway, such events can occur once in a while and one must be prepared to manage them in the best possible way.

Hello QTN03
I would suggest you read the general advice on improving your writing on our Frequently asked questions page ( I would particularly emphasise the value of getting feedback from a teacher or other proficient writer, though I realise that it can be difficult to find someone to do that for you. Many people also neglect reading, which is a shame, for it is through reading that we can see good writing that we can imitate or take inspiration from.
As for improving your grammar, I would recommend looking through our English grammar reference (, which we recently revised and added new exercises to.
I'm afraid we're not able to revise our users' writing, but if you ever have a specific question about a specific sentence or structure, please do ask us here in the comments.
All the best
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello again QTN03
I'm afraid I'm not that familiar with any websites besides our own. It's not that I don't want to recommend any to you, it's that I don't use them so I just don't know any of them!
I would recommend that you visit our Facebook page ( Our social media team is more familiar with these kinds of resources, and you can also ask other learners if they have any recommendations there.
Good luck!
All the best
The LearnEnglish Team