An email request

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.


Worksheet114.26 KB

Language level

Average: 3.6 (12 votes)
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Submitted by Marti on Fri, 20/11/2020 - 09:09

Last Spring, I had to cancel my flight to London due to the coronavirus crisis. In fact, it was cancelled by Ryanair, who offered their clients a vouche to fly whenever they want in a year period or a full refund. Despite their promises, I am still waiting for the cash for the three flight tickets I bought in advance, for me and my family. I guess it has been a common incident for many other people in those times...

Submitted by Rocket on Mon, 07/09/2020 - 10:28

I would be appreciate Why is it not the same with enrolment and enrollment in the text and test as follow, In the event that a refund is not possible, I would be grateful if you could postpone my enrolment until my return. 4. Can I enrol on the course later? – I would be grateful if you could postpone my enrollment. I am looking forward to hear it from you, Kirk The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Rocket,

'enrolment' is the most common spelling in British English and 'enrollment' is more common in American English. Since our site is in British English, we've used the British spelling in the text and the exercise. But I've added 'enrollment' as an alternative correct answer for Task 3 question 4.

All the best,


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Tayyeb on Sat, 13/06/2020 - 12:43

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, Xyz.
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Submitted by OlaIELTS on Wed, 20/05/2020 - 16:55

Just of recent. I had to cancel something due to unforeseen situation.
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Submitted by Magedelabd on Wed, 06/05/2020 - 21:52

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.

Submitted by hrahmani on Tue, 11/02/2020 - 15:19

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.