rejecting an invitation

A friend, who lives in another country, has invited to you come and stay with him/her on your next holiday. You are too busy to accept the invitation. Write a letter to your friend. In your letter: 
     –  thank him/her for the invitation 
     –  explain why you cannot come 
     –  give him/her your other news

Model Answer:
Dear Peter,
I hope you are well and the reason I am writing is to respond to your kind offer.
Let me start by expressing my gratitude for the offer to stay with you over the Easter holidays. It was also very kind of you and saying you would pick me up from the airport was really appreciated. I miss you so much so it is with deep regret that I cannot come this year.

As to the reason I am unable to visit you, which is because I promised my sister I will stay in town and help her renovate her house. She just bought it last month and she wants me to paint the walls and replace the carpet and I made the promise before your kind offer.

I also want to let you know that Steven got promoted to Sales Manager. My even bigger news is that Steven and I are going to get married in March. I hope you can come here and join us for this special occasion.
Please let me know if you can come at your earliest convenience.
Best wishes,
Sarah [188 words]

 Task Analysis:
Who will receive the letter: friend
Relationship: friends
Formality level: informal

Language:
OPENING REMARKS:
– Thanks for the invitation, but…
– Thanks for inviting me to …, but I’m afraid I can’t come.

CLOSING REMARKS:
Informal
– I hope we can get together some other time.
– I’m really sorry we’ll have to miss it.

THANKING SOMEONE:
Thank you very much. Thank you kindly. I can’t thank you enough. No words can express my gratitude. I am extremely grateful for… I very much appreciate your ______ing …

GIVING EXTRA INFORMATION:
I have some really great news to tell you…
You won’t believe what I am going to tell you…
I have some fantastic news to tell you…

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