Letter Writing Preparation

IELTS Letter Writing Preparation:

Part 1: 10 Useful Tips for Top-Notch Letters
Part 2: How to begin and end the letters
Part 3: How to write complaint letter
Part 4: How to write resignation letter
Part 5: How to write Cover letter

10 Useful Tips for Top-Notch Letters:

Below are the handy tips for IELTS letter writing. It is very crucial to follow to get a high score in writing task 1 for the general training paper. Mastering the tips, you will understand the different types of letters, how to write them, how to structure them, and how to respond the task appropriately for a good score. You will be given 20 minutes for this task.

1. Instructions:

You will be provided instructions comprising three points. All you need to do is to follow these three points to structure your letter and render the base for the information. If you miss any given point in your letter, you will get a poor score. An example question includes the following:

As an international student in Sweden, you have an account with a local bank. The monthly bank transfer you receive from your parents has been delayed this month due to an error at your parents’ bank.
Write a letter to your bank. In your letter:
• introduce yourself and ask for a loan
• say why you need the money
• tell how you intend to pay back the money

Further instructions for the GT writing task 1:

  • You have to write minimum 150 words (aiming to write between 160 and 170 to place you in a safe place)
  • You do not need to write an address on the letter. That is to say, you can begin with salutation, for example Dear Sir or Madam.

2. Types of letter:

In the IELTS exam, you can expect to get one of the three letter types: formal, semi-formal, and informal. Each type of letter determines a particular language. This means that you should begin and sign off in a different approach pertaining to the type. The first thing, before start writing, you need to do is to decide which type of letters you are going to write by comprehending the task given. The examples of the three different types of letters are given below:

Formal: You compose a formal letter to someone you do not know about in a serious or formal situation. Below is an example of formal letter:

You are looking for a part-time job at a football club. Write a letter to the manager of the football club. In your letter:

• introduce yourself
• explain what experience and special skills you have
• tell him/her when you think you could start

Semi-formal: A semi-formal letter is to somebody you are acquainted with in a serious or formal situation. An example includes the following:

You have been living in a rental apartment for the past year. Recently a new neighbour moved in who has loud parties several times a week. Write a letter complaining about this to the landlord. In your letter:

• explain the situation
• describe why it bothers you
• suggest a solution

Informal or personal: An informal or personal letter is to somebody you know well in a personal or social situation. Take a look at the example question:

One of your friends recently had a birthday celebration, but you missed it and you forgot to tell your friend that you couldn’t attend.

Write a letter to you friend. In your letter:

• apologise for missing the birthday celebration
• explain why you missed it and why you didn’t tell your friend
• and say what you would like to do to show that are sorry.

3. Letter Purpose:

  • Complaining (It may about a problem with faulty goods or appliance, poor service in a restaurant, loud noise in your neighbourhood, etc. you should compose it in a formal fashion.)
  • Applying or resigning (It might be from a post or job. You have to write it in a formal way.)
  • Describing (it may about a lost property in a place or your friend’s home. It might be informal or formal depending on who reads it.)
  • Requesting information (It might be for library hours, course information, timetable information, and so on.You can follow any style depending on who reads it.)
  • Relating an event (It might be an accident or incident, a wedding party, a holiday, etc. It could be semi-formal or informal depending on recipient.)
  • Giving instructions (it could be on how to open an account, how to operate a machine, how to get an office, and so forth.)
  • Giving good or bad news (It may include informing of the birth of a baby, cancelling an appointment, accepting a job offer, and so on. It could be any style according to reader.)
  • Making apology (It might include unable to join a party or an event, causing in an inconvenience to a neighbor, not being to accept an offer or request, and so on. It could be any style in terms of recipient.)
  • Giving information (It may include arrival details, travel plans, what to see and do on holidays. It might follow any style according to the recipient.)

4. Letter opening:

Letters should be commenced with an opening statement that set forth the purpose of writing the letters. The opening statement always varies pertaining to whether you are writing an informal or formal letter. Below are few expressions for opening statement:


  • I am writing to inform you of my dissatisfaction with the…../to make a reservation/ to confirm my booking/ to apply for the position of…. /to ask for further information about…..
  • I am writing with regard to the complaint you made on 3rd may.
  • With the reference to our telephone conversation on 5th March, I would like to let you that….


  • I wanted to let you know that…. / ask you if…. / tell you about….
  • This is to invite you to join us for….
  • Just a quick note to tell you that…./ to invite you to….

5. Letter Ending:

You should end in a particular manner depending on style and purpose of the letter. Few common expressions are given below:

  • I look forward to settling the issue amicably.
  • I look forward to hearing from you at the earliest convenience.


  • Looking forward to hearing from you again.
  • Hope to hear from you soon.

6. Grammar: Formal and Informal:

You should use different language and style regarding formal and informal. In a formal letter, for instance, you cannot use contractions (the reason I’m writing….), while in an informal letter contractions is acceptable.

7. Vocabulary: Formal and Informal:

You must be careful while choosing vocabulary. That is to say, it would harm your score if you use academic language in an informal letter or use informal expressions in a formal one. The inappropriate language will reduce your band score significantly. Below are few examples of the difference between formal and informal language:

Verbs: Formal and Informal:

Formal Informal
Acceptable All right
Accumulate Rack up
Apologize, Apologise Say sorry
Appear Seem
Arrive Show up
Ascertain Find out
Authorize, Authorise give the go ahead, greenlight
Bother Get on someone’s nerves
Cause Bring about
Call Ring up
Commence Start
Consider Think about
Contact Get in touch with
Decrease Go down
Demonstrate Show
Delay Put off
Discover Find out
Examine Look at
Explode Blow up
Fabricate Make up
Handle Deal with
Increase Go up
Indicate Point out
It concerns, it is in regards to It’s about
Obtain Get
Omit Leave out
Oppose Go against
Permit Let
Postpone Put off
Release Free
Represent Stand for
Require Need to
Retain keep
Substitute Fill in
Undermine Block


Transitions: Formal and Informal:

Formal Informal
As soon as possible/ at your earliest convenience ASAP
Finally In the end
Furthermore/moreover Also/plus
However But
In addition, additionally Also
In conclusion To sum up
In my opinion I think
In order to
Nevertheless, nonetheless, notwithstanding Anyway
Therefore/ thus So
To summarize Basically/ in a nutshell
To top it all off
On the top of it all


Expressions: Formal and informal:

Formal Informal
I am writing to inform you… Just wanted to let you know
I highly recommended that you come in August It’d be great if you came in August
I would like to invite you to visit my house on… Why don’t you pop round to my place
You will be collected at the airport I’ll pick you up at the airport
The next available appointment is on Monday How about we meet up on Monday
I am sorry I apologize
I was wondering if you could/would it be possible for you to… Would you mind/ I wonder if you would mind
Unfortunately I will not be able to attend on… Sorry, but I won’t be able to make it.
I would like to express my appreciation/gratitude I can’t thank you enough
I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience Get back to me as soon as you can
I would like to suggest that… If I were you, I would or I’d…

8. Structure and Paragraph:

You have to organize your letter into paragraphs. This is a significant part in letter writing that the examiner will assess your ability to use correct paragraphing. Below is a common structure following the three points that you have to include in your letter:


  • Title
  • Opening statement (define the purpose of your letter in one or two sentences)
  • Body paragraph 1 (discuss the first point of your question)
  • Body paragraph 2 (discuss another point in detail)
  • Body paragraph 3 ( discuss final point with detail)
  • Ending statement (optional depending on necessity)
  • Signing off
  • Name ( you can use a fictional name or your own)

9. Spelling and Punctuation:

Spelling and punctuation is another crucial thing in IELTS writing task 1 (GT). You have to maintain accuracy in spelling and punctuation contributes to a good score. If you frequently misspell and wrongly use punctuation, you deserve to get below band score 6.

10. Planning Your Letter:

Before start writing, you should plan how to write the letter. To that end, you should spend 3-4 minutes on planning the letter. Responding all the three points, choosing the appropriate style of letter writing and using effective paragraphing play a vital role in getting a good score. So, spending 3 or 4 minutes would be a wiser idea than starting right away.

  • Read the instructions carefully
  • Define the appropriate style you must follow
  • Read the three points over that you have to include in your letter
  • Decide how many paragraphs you will need and how to organize them
  • Plan what content you will discuss to each paragraph
  • Decide how to begin your letter
  • Decide the language according to the style of the letter
  • Decide how to end the letter
  • Commence writing

Part 2: How to begin and end the letters