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"What you do today can improve all your tomorrows."
Ralph Marston
 

Before you read a letter from a client to his bank manager, read the following multiple choice questions.

1. The client is writing the letter
  a) to ask for a loan
  b) to inform the bank about some changes
  c) to complain about a bank employee

2. What bill did his bank refuse to pay?
  a) His mortgage
  b) His gas bill
  c) His electricity bill

3. How will the man be paying his mortgage in the future?
  a) by phone
  b) by bank transfer
  c) by courier service

4. How long is the Application for Contact Status that the man wants the bank employee to complete?
  a) 4 pages
  b) 8 pages
  c) 28 pages

5. What music has the man chosen for when he put the bank on hold?

6. How much will the man charge the bank for reading their advertising material?


My Dear Bank Manager,

I am writing to thank you for refusing the payment transfer with which I attempted to pay my electricity bill last month. By my calculations at least three nanoseconds must have elapsed between my transfer request, and the arrival in my account of the funds needed to cover it. I refer, of course, to the automatic monthly deposit of my entire salary, an arrangement which, I admit, has only been in place for eighteen years. You are to be congratulated for taking that brief window of opportunity, and also for debiting my account by way of a commission penalty for the inconvenience I caused your bank.

My thankfulness comes from the manner in which this incident has caused me to rethink my erratic financial ways. You have put me on the path of fiscal righteousness. No more will our relationship be affected by these unpleasant incidents, for I am restructuring my affairs next year, and I am taking the procedures, attitudes and conduct of your bank as my model.

I can think of no greater compliment, and I know you will be excited and proud to hear it. To this end, please be advised about the following changes.

First, I have noticed that whereas I personally attend to your telephone calls and emails, when I try to contact you I am confronted by the impersonal, ever-changing, pre-recorded, faceless entity which your bank has become.

From now on I, like you, chose only to deal with a flesh and blood person. My mortgage and loan repayments will no longer be automatic, but will arrive at your bank in cash by personal courier, addressed personally and confidentially to an employee of your branch, whom you must nominate. You will be aware that it is a criminal offence for any other person to open an envelope by registered delivery.

Please find attached an Application for Contact Status which I require your chosen employee to complete. I am sorry it is eight pages long, but in order that I know as much about him or her as your bank knows about me, there is no alternative. Please note that all copies of his/her medical history must be countersigned by a judge, and that the mandatory details of his/her financial situation (income, debts, assets and liabilities) must be accompanied by documented proof.

In due course I will issue your employee with a PIN number which he/she must quote in all dealings with me. I regret that it cannot be shorter than 28 digits but, again, I have modelled it on the number of button presses required to access my account balance on your phonebank service. As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Let me level the playing field even further by introducing you to my new telephone system, which you will notice, is very much like yours. My Authorized Contact at your bank, the only person who I will have any dealings with, may call me at any time and be answered by an automated voice. By pressing the buttons on the phone, he/she will be guided through an extensive set of menus:

Press 1 to make an appointment to see me,
Press 2 to query a missing repayment,
Press 3 to make a general complaint or inquiry, and so on.

The contact will then be put on hold, and will then be attended by my automated answering service. While this may on occasion involve a lengthy wait, uplifting music will play for the duration. This month I have chosen a couple of tracks from my favourite album “Classic Irish Pan Pipe Tunes”.

On a more serious note, we come to the matter of cost. As your bank has often pointed out, the ongoing drive for greater efficiency comes at a cost - a cost which you have always been quick to pass on to me. Let me repay your kindness by passing some costs back.

First, there is the matter of advertising material you send me. This I will read for a fee of 3 euros per page. Inquiries from your nominated contact will be billed at 5 euros per minute of my time spent in response. Any debits to my account, as, for example, in the matter of an electronic bank transfer, will be passed back to you.

My new phone number service runs at 75 cents per minute (even The Irish Pan Pipes don’t come free), so keep your inquiries brief and to the point. Regrettably, but again following your example, I must also charge an establishment fee to cover the setting up of this new arrangement.

May I wish you a happy, if ever-so-slightly less prosperous, New Year.

Your humble client,

Mr. I. C. Cleerly

Answers Check your answers.

Match the following vocabulary from the text with the best definition.

1. to elapse –
2. fund -
3. to debit an account –
4. manner -
5. righteousness -
6. courier -
7. branch -

Answers Check.

Now complete the following sentences with vocabulary from the previous exercise in the correct form.

1. Don’t mail the package, send it by , it’ll be much quicker.
2. Pepitos were getting lower as he continued to look for a job
3. Samantha doesn’t work here anymore. She went to work at our Manchester two months ago.
4. We object to the in which the decision was made.
5. Thirty minutes before the meeting began.
 

Answers Check.
 

Listen and repeat.
   

Match the following vocabulary from the text with the best definition.

1. asset –
2. liability –
3. in due course -
4. flattery -
5. to level the playing field –
6. query -
7. uplifting -

Answers Check.

Now complete the following sentences with vocabulary from the previous exercise in the correct form.

1. I don't want . Tell me what you really think of this dress.
2. Pepito’s lack of education is his biggest .
3. She made an inspiring and speech at the awards ceremony.
4. It was an effort field and achieve greater equality between the sexes.
5. The support team responded to my the same day and helped me get started immediately.
   

Answers Check.
 

Listen and repeat.
   
 

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