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2/5/2019 IELTS Letter Writing Tips: Essential Top 10 Tips

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IELTS Letter Writing Tips: Essential Top 10 Tips
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December 24, 2014 by Liz 306 Comments

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Essential IELTS Le er Writing Tips for General Training Writing Task 1. Last
up-dated 2018. This page will explain the right approach and techniques to get a Post Your IELTS Results
high score in your IELTS GT le er.
Share your IELTS test results

On this page, you will find: Post Your Test Results

1. Instructions about IELTS Le er Writing with Tips

3. Le er Aims
High Band Score Techniques. Click here:
4. Opening your Le er IELTS Writing Lessons
5. Signing Off
6. Grammar
7. Vocabulary Search this website … SEARCH
8. Spelling
9. Structure & Paragraphs
10. Planning your Le er Recent Lessons
11. You will also find links to model le ers at the end of this article. IELTS Remarking Success Story
January 31, 2019

1. Instructions for IELTS Letters Model Essay for TV & Weight Problems with Tips
January 26, 2019

You will be given instructions and three points to include in your le er.Below is an Practice Essay for Sample Materials
example of the type of instructions you can get: January 23, 2019

Reading Answers Death of High Street

January 18, 2019

IELTS Reading Lesson: Death of the High Street

You recently had a holiday visiting your friends and you stayed in
January 17, 2019
their house.
IELTS Speaking Part 2 Topics Jan to Apr 2019
January 10, 2019
Write a le er to your friend. In your le er:

thank your friend for staying with them IELTS Extra Information
tell them what you enjoyed most about the holiday
IELTS Book List
explain you are sending photos of the holiday with the le er
IELTS Band Scores

Useful Websites for IELTS

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2/5/2019 IELTS Letter Writing Tips: Essential Top 10 Tips

Tips for IELTS le er writing:

Ielts Liz

1. Spend 20 mins on this le er. Spend 3 -5 mins planning and then the rest
writing. Always leave 2 mins to check your le er for spelling or grammar
mistakes. You will need a full 40 mins for task 2, so don’t go over 20 mins for Like Page

task 1. It is your responsibility to control the time in your writing test.

Be the first of your friends to like this
2. You must write over 150 words (aim for between 160 and 180 to be safe).
Writing a le er over 300 words is a waste of time.
3. Your le er is worth 33% of your final writing score. See this page: How your
final writing score is calculated
4. You do NOT need to write an address on the le er
5. Pay close a ention to who you are writing to and the relationship you have
with that person. This will decide your style of writing and your tone.
6. Pay a ention to the aim and purpose of the le er.
7. It is essential that you use the three points to structure your le er and provide
the foundation for the information.
8. All points must be included clearly in your le er. If you fail to include all the
points in your le er, your band score will be lower.
9. You must use your imagination to fill in details and decide the names of the
people in your le er.
10. Begin your le er by addressing the person and then an opening line. Always
sign off appropriately.

2. Types of IELTS Letter

There are three different types of le ers: personal, semi-formal and formal. Each
type of le er will use different language. It will have a different beginning and a
different way of signing off. Your first task, before you start writing, is to decide
which type of le er you must write by identifying the task given. Below are
examples of the three different types of le ers.


You would like to invite a foreign friend to visit you for your

Write a le er inviting your friend. In your le er:

tell your friend about your birthday

explain how much the visit would mean to you
suggest that your friend stays at your house for the visit

Click below for tips:

A personal le er is to someone you have a close personal relationship with about
a social situation or personal situation.

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2/5/2019 IELTS Letter Writing Tips: Essential Top 10 Tips


Your friend has a travel company and would like you to come and
work with him.

Write a le er replying to your friends offer. In your le er:

explain what you know about your friends company

choose whether you accept or decline the offer
give reasons for your choice

Click below for tips:

A semi-formal le er is to someone you have a close personal relationship with,
such as a friend, about a formal or serious situation such as work. This means it’s
to someone you know informally about something formal = semi-formal. Note:
A personal relationship means you share your private life (your home life) with
that person = a friend. It does not mean your teacher, your boss, your manager
or anyone else you know in a formal se ing such as school or work.


You are interested in applying for a scholarship program to study

at a foreign University.

Write a le er to inquire about the course. In your le er:

explain which course you are interested in

tell what you know about the University
explain why you should receive the scholarship

Click below for tips:

A formal le er is to someone you know in a formal way (a landlord, a boss, a
manager, a teacher etc) or someone you have not met and whose name you don’t
know (customer services, local council, hotel manager etc) about a serious or
formal situation.

3. Letter Aims

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2/5/2019 IELTS Letter Writing Tips: Essential Top 10 Tips

Le ers can be based on different content which will affect the style of the le er.
Below is a list of some of the common contents for le ers. Although there are hints
about whether the le ers are usually formal or not, please note that you will know
the style by reading the instructions given to you.

complaints (usually formal)

invitations (usually personal or semi-formal)
applications or resignations (usually formal)
request (any style common)
making arrangements (often formal)
explanation (sometimes semi-formal or personal)
informative / news le er (often personal/ semi-formal but formal can also
apology (could be any style)

4. Letter Openings
Le ers usually start with an opening statement which explains the reason for
writing the le er. This opening statement varies depending on whether you are
writing a formal or informal le er. Below are two examples of an opening
statement. Can you spot which one is formal and which one is informal?

A) I am writing this le er with regards to the scholarship program to study at London

University which I read in Sunday Times on December 1st, 2014.

B) It’s been so long since we last were in touch but I haven’t forgo en all the wonderful
times we spent together last year. It’s my birthday coming up and I wanted to invite you
over to stay at my place for the celebration.

C) I’m just writing to say thank you for the offer of joining your company.

A is formal, B is personal (informal) and C is semi-formal

5. Signing Off
Depending on the style and aim of the le er, you will need to adapt your final
sentence or comment.

Dear Sir / Madame = Yours faithfully, (formal le ers)

Dear Mr Robson = Yours sincerely, (formal le ers)
Dear John Robson = Yours sincerely (formal le ers)
Hi Dave / Dear Dave = See you soon, / Take care, / All the best (informal or semi-


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2/5/2019 IELTS Letter Writing Tips: Essential Top 10 Tips

1. You use “Sir / Madame” when we don’t know the person’s name that you are
writing to, for example when you write to the manager of a hotel or the local
council. You do not use these titles if you know the name of the person. You
should NOT use those titles in your speaking test.
2. You can also write a formal le er to someone whose name you know. You can
use either “Mr Robson” or “John Robson”.
3. We use no title and no last name when we write to a friend.

Below are some examples of final comments before signing off, can you tell which
ones are formal and which not?

It’ll be great to catch up again soon. Give my best to everyone in the family.

I look forward to hearing from you.

The first one is personal and the second one is formal.


You should write a name at the end of your le er. You can use your name or you
can invest one.

Dear Sir = Yours faithfully, John Brown (always with a family name but with or
without a title)
Dear Mr Robson = Yours sincerely, Mrs Susan Harper (always with a family
name but with or without a title)
Hi Dave or Dear Dave = See you soon, Brian (not title and no family name
because it is informal)

6. Grammar: Formal and Informal

Formal and informal (friendly) le ers contain different language and style of
writing. While informal le ers can contain contractions (I’m writing …), these
contractions are unacceptable in formal writing so you need to write the words in
full (I am writing …. …).

In a formal le er, you could write “I am writing with regards to ….”. whereas for a
semi-formal le er you can write “I’m writing about…” or “I’m writing to say..” or
“I just want to let you know that..”. So, it is important to adapt your writing to suit
the style of the le er. Also remember to use a range of different sentence structures
in order to get a high score.

7. Vocabulary: Formal and Informal

For vocabulary, be very careful using academic language in a personal le er. This
would be inappropriate and will reduce your band score rather than increase it.
Here are some examples of the difference between formal and informal language:

You will be collected at the airport = I’ll pick you up at the airport
The next available appointment is on Thursday = how about we meet up on Thursday?
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2/5/2019 IELTS Letter Writing Tips: Essential Top 10 Tips

I would like to invite you to visit my house on…. = Why don’t you pop round to my
place on …..
I highly recommend that you come in August = it’d be great if you came in August
Please respond at the earliest convenience = Get back to me as soon as you can
Unfortunately I will not be able to a end on … = Sorry, but I won’t be able to make it
on ….

8. Spelling and Punctuation

The examiner will check your accuracy in your spelling and your punctuation (this
means your use of commas and full stops). If you make frequent errors in spelling
or in punctuation it is unlikely to get over band score 6.

9. Structure and Paragraphs

You must also organise your le er into paragraphs. This is an essential part of your
le er writing and the examiner will be marking you on your ability to use effective
paragraphing. In IELTS writing task 1 (GT), the le er structure below is most
common as it usually follows the three points which you must include in your
le er. However you must adapt it to suit the task given to you by IELTS. So spend
time reading the instructions and deciding your paragraphing.


opening statement – reason for writing
body paragraph A (one point with detail)
body paragraph B (another point with detail)
body paragraph C (final point with detail)
closing statement (if needed)
signing off
name (choose a name or use your own)

10. Planning Your Letter

You should spend at least 3 or 4 minutes planning your le er. Covering all the
points in your le er, adding details, using the appropriate style of le er writing
and using paragraphs well count for about 50% of your marks. So it’s worth taking
time to plan your le er well. Follow the points below for a well planned le er:

1. read the instructions

2. identify what style of le er you must write
3. read through the points you must include in your le er
4. think about how many paragraphs you will have and where to put each point
5. plan what information you will add to each point
6. decide how to open the le er
7. think about the language you will use (both grammar and vocabulary) – it
must suit the style of the le er
8. decide how to close the le er
9. plan the content of each body paragraph
10. start writing

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2/5/2019 IELTS Letter Writing Tips: Essential Top 10 Tips


IELTS Apology Le er: Formal & Informal Model Answers

Le er of Amendment: Model Answer 2017
IELTS Thank you Le er: Model Answer
IELTS Complaint Model Le er
IELTS Invitation Model Le er
Collection of IELTS Sample Le ers for Practice

Main IELTS Pages

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IELTS Listening
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Filed Under: IELTS Writing Task 1 Tagged With: general training, le er


Balkan says:
February 3, 2019 at 10:49 am

Hi Liz,

What a great place to learn the IELTS.

Can you please tell me if it is wrong to use “Hope this le er finds you well” at the
salutation for the formal le er?

Thank you!


Liz says:
February 3, 2019 at 12:36 pm

If you are writing to the manager to a hotel who you have never met, it
would be completely inappropriate to start that way. You always start with an opening
line that expresses in formal terms what the le er aim is.


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