English as a Second Language/word choice

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Question
I have several questions about the letter below:

Dear Robin,          
It’s been a month since Rachael and I returned from vacation in your city, Hualien. How have you been? These days, we often think about the time we spent with you when we traveled around Hualien. The trip was wonderful and we really had a good time. Thank you for your invitation and hospitality.

(1.)In the first sentence, may I change “in” to “to”? (…returned from vacation to your city)

(2.)In the second, what can be taken in place of “these days”?

(3.)What is another way to say the second sentence? “These days, we often recall the happy time we shared with you when we traveled around Hualien”?

(4.) What can be taken in place of “hospitality” in the last sentence?


There was always something amazing during the trip.  The special cakes we tried were really tasty. They were the best desserts we had ever had. The sunrise there was so beautiful, and the air was fresh and clean. I think Huilien is the best place to live in Taiwan, especially for the elderly and retired.

(5.) In the first sentence, may I say also, “The entire trip was full of surprises”?

(6.) In the second sentence, what is the difference if I say “specially made cakes” or “special flavored cakes”?

(7.) In the third sentence, should I use the present tense? “They are the best desserts we have ever had”?

(8.)In the last sentence, should I say, “…the best place to live in in Taiwan”?

Since we really appreciate your help and time during our visit, we would like to invite you to visit Taichung as a return favor. Would you like to come over here? We will be happy to show you around the city. So, let’s get together and enjoy all kinds of activities soon. It will be fun and memorable.  We are looking forward to hearing from you.

(9.) In the first sentence, what is another way to say “as a return favor”?
(10) What can be taken in place of “so” or should I leave it out?

(11.) In the second to the last sentence, does it mean the same if I replace “memorable” with “unforgettable”?

Answer
Dear Robin,          
It’s been a month since Rachael and I returned from vacation in your city, Hualien. How have you been? These days, we often think about the time we spent with you when we traveled around Hualien. The trip was wonderful and we really had a good time. Thank you for your invitation and hospitality.

(1.)In the first sentence, may I change “in” to “to”? (…returned from vacation to your city) yes

(2.)In the second, what can be taken in place of “these days”? You can simply leave it out.

(3.)What is another way to say the second sentence? “These days, we often recall the happy time we shared with you when we traveled around Hualien”? We often remember the great times we shared (with you) while travelling around Hualien.

(4.) What can be taken in place of “hospitality” in the last sentence? Nothing in this case ... sometimes generosity may work, but I wouldn't change it.


There was always something amazing during the trip.  The special cakes we tried were really tasty. They were the best desserts we had ever had. The sunrise there was so beautiful, and the air was fresh and clean. I think Huilien is the best place to live in Taiwan, especially for the elderly and retired.

(5.) In the first sentence, may I say also, “The entire trip was full of surprises”? yes or better yet "full of pleasant surprises"

(6.) In the second sentence, what is the difference if I say “specially made cakes” or “special flavored cakes”? Specially made cake sounds like some sort of special order; special flavored cake... never heard of that, so I wouldn't use it

(7.) In the third sentence, should I use the present tense? “They are the best desserts we have ever had”? You can use the present, yes.

(8.)In the last sentence, should I say, “…the best place to live in in Taiwan”? No need for the double "in"

Since we really appreciate your help and time during our visit, we would like to invite you to visit Taichung as a return favor. Would you like to come over here? We will be happy to show you around the city. So, let’s get together and enjoy all kinds of activities soon. It will be fun and memorable.  We are looking forward to hearing from you.

*first sentence should read "we really appreciated"

(9.) In the first sentence, what is another way to say “as a return favor”? "in return"

(10) What can be taken in place of “so” or should I leave it out? Just leave it out.

(11.) In the second to the last sentence, does it mean the same if I replace “memorable” with “unforgettable”? yes.  

English as a Second Language

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