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An email explaining a problem

Learn how to write an email to explain a problem.

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

Reading text

From: Jameela Lee
To: Professor Kim Hart
Subject: Absence from class for two weeks
Attached: doctor's_certificate.pdf

Dear Professor Hart,

I'm writing to let you know that I can't attend class for two weeks as I've had an accident and hurt my back. I'm afraid I also need to ask for an extension for next week's essay.

I have medicine for the pain but I can't get up or walk around much, and the doctor said I should stay in bed and rest as much as possible. This makes reading and studying very difficult for me at the moment. I've attached a copy of the doctor's certificate and I hope to be back in class from 12 May.

Until then, my friend is going to record the lectures so I can listen to them at home. I will try to catch up with all the reading too. However, I don't think I can submit the essay next week. Is it possible to have an extension?

Thank you for your understanding.



(ENG101 class)


  1. Start with Dear and the person's title and name.
  2. Say what the problem is first. Then, give more details. Finally, offer a solution or say what you hope will happen next.
  3. Make it short and clear. Just include the most important information.
  4. Say Thank you for your understanding at the end. It shows that you hope the reader will understand your problems.



Language level

Pre-intermediate: A2


Yes I have missed couple of work days last week because my mother was sick and I had to transfer hire to the hospital. And I could followed up my work through company email account which is installed in my phone.

Yes, of course that I've missed. This is obvious to miss several days at work, school or somewhere else. It happens when we have accident, we are sick or we've another problem through we can't get up and go somewhere. The last time when I missed several day of work was related to mine sick. I had to inform my manager and go to the doctor.

i rarely missed several days of school or university. but, when it happened, i always phoned my friends and ask them for the homework that teachers have assigned them. I never sent an email to my teachers to explain my problems but i always brought at school my doctor's cetificate.

Yes. I have missed several times at work. This was mainly due to health reasons, but sometimes for personal reasons. In Russia when we are sick and forced to be absent at work an employer does not pay for this time, but we get compensation from social insurance.

No, I usually go to my workplace on time and rarely absent my work.

Yes I did. Last year I was absent due to illness about an halv year. I'm a teacher so my classes were done by a substitute.

Dear S
I am writing to let you know that I will have an operation on Monday, I will be absent for one week. (Copy of the doctor report is attached)
Fortunately, It is a minor operation but it is painful, I will be taking medicines for pain that make me weak and lazy.
If you need anything that I can do at home don’t hesitate to email me.
Thank you for your understanding.
Best regards,

Yes, I have missed several days of work. Then I've worked so much to compensate.

Yes, I missed of english course. It's relaxed environment because it is online course. I have not a problem.