During your exam you can be required to write a personal note or memo. These pieces of writing are even more informal and usually shorter than informal letters. They contain a brief piece of information concerning one or two issues. You usually write a note or memo to people you know well. No fixed rules describe the layout of notes and memos, but it should be clear and efficient – the reader must understand the message easily.
Notes and memos
You usually write a memo or note to people you know very well.
Generally, the language of a memo is more formal than the language used in a note. You should follow the exam instructions carefully to find out about the relationship between you and the recipient. For example, if you are required to write to a friend of yours, do not hesitate to use informal phrases and spoken language. On the other hand, however, if the task demands writing a memo to your work colleague or supervisor concerning organisation matters, e.g. a conference or official meeting, you should use vocabulary and phrases that are more formal.
In both cases, regardless the degree of formality, you can use contracted forms (formy skrócone: „I’d”, „we’re”, „she’s”, etc.).
You don’t need to include any introductory phrase (such as „Dear…”) in a personal note.
However, you can use the following phrases at the beginning of a note:
- Just to let you know… – Daję tylko znać, że…
- Just a (quick) note to see if / ask – Chcę tylko szybko zapytać, czy…
- A quick note to thank you for… – Chcę tylko podziękować za…
Types of notes and memos
In the note or memo you will be supposed to write you may be required to convey messages of different kinds. For example, you might be asked to ask for information, to invite someone to a party or to apologise. The following phrases will prove useful depending on the reason for writing:
1. Query (Pytanie)
- Can you tell me if you’d like to… – Powiedz mi proszę, czy chciałbyś…
- Can you tell me what you’ve decided about… – Powiedz mi proszę, co postanowiłeś w sprawie…
- (Could you) Let me know… – Daj mi proszę znać…
- Tell me if you’re interested in … – Powiadom mnie, czy interesuje Cię…
- Tell me soon… – Powiadom mnie wkrótce…
2. Giving information (Przekazywanie informacji)
- For your information – Dla Twojej wiadomości
- I thought you might like to know that… – Pomyślałem, że pewnie chciałbyś wiedzieć, że…
- I just want to inform you that… – Chcę tylko poinformować Cię, że…
3. Thank you note (Notka z podziękowaniem)
- Thanks a lot for… – Wielkie dzięki za…
- Many thanks for… – Wielkie dzięki za…
- Just to thank you for… – Chcę tylko podziękować za…
- I’d like to (take this opportunity to) thank you for… – Korzystając z okazji, chciałbym podziękować za…
4. Apology (Przeprosiny)
- I would like to apologise for not being able to come/ delay – Chciałbym przeprosić za to, że nie mogłem przyjść/ opóźnienie
- I hope you’ll understand when I say that… – Mam nadzieję, że zrozumiesz, kiedy powiem, że…
- I’m really/ awfully sorry – Jest mi bardzo/ strasznie przykro
- I’m sorry for missing the meeting – Przepraszam, że opuściłem spotkanie
- (I’m) sorry I forgot to… – Przepraszam, że zapomniałem…
5. Request (Prośba)
- Can you please send me… – Czy mógłbyś mi przesłać…
- Could you please check if… – Czy mógłbyś sprawdzić, czy…
- Would you please find out about… – Czy mógłbyś proszę dowiedzieć się o…
- See you – Do zobaczenia
- See you soon – Do zobaczenia wkrótce
- All the best – Wszystkiego dobrego
Write a note to one of the members of your family, where you explain what you need from a grocery’s.
Napisz notatkę dla jednego z członków Twojej rodziny, w której napiszesz, co jest potrzebne z produktów spożywczych do domu.
Before you come back home from school, go to the greengrocer’s and buy some food for us. We need 2 kilos of potatoes and a dozen of eggs. You can buy some vegetables for soup and chicken breasts for supper. We also need some milk and 3 cartons of orange juice. If you have enough money, you may buy a bar of chocolate or a cake for dessert, but do not buy any crisps because we still have a few packets of it. If you need more money, I left a little in my coat, in a pocket.
Your brother asked you for instructions on your alarm clock. Write a short note for him.
Brat poprosił Cię o instrukcję do Twojego elektronicznego zegarka, bo chciałby ustawić budzik. Sporządź krótką notatkę.
First press the alarm button and keep it down for three seconds. When you hear a peep hours in the window start to blink. Next set the alarm adjusting it with (–) and (+). Finish with pressing the alarm button. If you want to check the set alarm time, just press (+).
An example examination task
Write a note to your friend Kathy. Invite her to the cinema for the The Day After Tomorrow. You were going to see the film with another friend of yours, but he has fallen with an illness and cannot join you. You have got the tickets for 6.30 p.m. on Wednesday at the Movie Globe cinema.
You can write your note as follows:
Just to let you know I’ve got two tickets for „The Day After Tomorrow” at the Movie Globe on Wed. It starts at 6.30. Why don’t you come along? (I was going there with Judy, but she’s ill.) I know you wanted to see this movie. Shall we meet outside the cinema at 6.15? Could you make it? Let me know if it suits you.
See you soon,
You had been invited to your friend’s birthday party held last Saturday. However, you could not arrive because you had to look after your younger brother. Apologise to your friend and send him congratulations. You are writing this note on Sunday and on Monday you are going to meet your friend at school.
You can write your note as follows:
I’m really sorry I couldn’t come to your birthday party last Saturday. I hope you’ll understand when I say that I had to stay at home and look after my younger brother. My parents were very busy, you see. I didn’t want to let you down.
Hope you had a good time.
Congratulations and happy birthday, Peter!
All the best and see you at school on Mon.
Remember to include all the information given in the instructions.
- If you are expected to include the date, you can use the shortened form, for example „10.06.” (instead of „10th July”).
- With the names of week days, also use the abbreviated forms:
Mon. – Monday
Tue. – Tuesday
Wed. – Wednesday
Thu. – Thursday
Fri. – Friday
Sat. – Saturday
Sun. – Sunday
- You don’t have to make full sentences (for example: „Hope you feel better now.”, „Met Paul on Tuesday.”).
- Finish the note with your name or initial.