IELTS Letter Writing – Types and Tips

ielts letter writing type and tips

In IELTS General Writing Task 1 you are asked to write a letter, where your ability to communicate about the practical issues is tested. You will be given 20 minutes to answer the question by writing a letter to the company, person or institution. Here how professionally and uniquely you can write the question is checked. This letter writing in general writing task 1 fetches you 30% of your IELTS score and is marked separate from the writing task 2 essay.

The following information given will help you to score a high band in the IELTS exam. Thus, it is necessary to practice for the test regularly.

Types of IELTS Letter Writing

There are three different types of letter writing essays in IELTS and each type of language will have a different tone of language. The task that you have to write will be given on the question and based on the task given, you need to identify the type of letter writing essays that you have to write.

The different types of letter writing essays are given below:

Formal Letter

In the formal letter, you will not be knowing the person’s name and you have to write a letter to the bank, university, organization and so on. You have to greet the people saying “Greetings Sir/ Madam”. At the end of the letter, you have to write “Yours Faithfully”. You have to include your name while writing a formal letter. The tone of the letter must be polite and do not use contractions while writing.

Most of the time the formal letters will be regarding complaints, arrangements, resignations, applications and so on.

Semi-Formal Letter

In the semi-formal letter, you will know the person to whom you are writing the letter but, the person is not a close friend of yours. Instead, he/she will be a person with a business or professional relationship.

It may include people like a teacher, trainer, colleague, landlord, manager, neighbor and so on. While addressing them in their letter their surname must be used. The letter will be regarded as more of a formal side because most of the time it will be related to problem-solving. The tone of language will be partly formal and partly informal.

Semi-formal letters will be like invitations, explanations, informative letters and so on, these sometimes can be personal letters as well.

Informal or Personal Letter

In an informal letter, you know the person whom you are writing the letter personally. They may be your family or friend. The tone of the language used in this letter will be informal. You can use contractions in this letter but not abbreviations or acronyms.

Informal or personal letters are usually used as invitations, explanations, informative, apology and so on. These letters sometimes can be semi-formal as well.

IELTS Letter Writing Tips

There are different tips that you can follow while taking the General writing task 1 IELTS test. Some of the tips are given below, which can be also used while practicing.

Make a plan

It is necessary to make proper plans before getting started with letter writing. If you do not make proper plans, you will not be able to write a letter in one go and you might get stuck in between. You can follow the basic structure below to get an idea of how to make a plan before writing a letter

  • Greetings: Dear X
  • Paragraph 1: Explain the reason for writing the letter
  • Paragraph 2: Explain point 1
  • Paragraph 3: Explain point 2
  • Paragraph 4: Explain the point 3
  • Closing Remark: I look forward to hearing from you
  • Ending: Kind Regards

The structure given above remains the same for all the letters only the tone of language or the style of writing the letter differs for different types of letters.

Usage of the correct style

While the question is given, you should be able to identify the in which style you need to write the answer, whether it is formal, informal or semi-formal.

You can find this out by looking at the question itself.

For example; if the name of the person is not given in the question then you are asked to write a formal letter. While writing this letter you should use formal words. It should sound professional and respectful while writing a formal letter.

If you are writing the letter to a friend then you can sound informal, because it will be a personal letter and the tone of the language used in an informal letter can be a relaxed tone.

While writing the semi-formal letter, most of the people get confused because there will be a mixture of formal and informal in it. You will write a letter to the known people but it will be in a professional or an official context.

Answer everything in the question

Do not skip anything in the question, try to complete everything. The question in the letter-writing will have three bullet points. You have to complete all the bullet points to get a high band score. Try to put each bullet points in a different paragraph, so that you know all the points are included. Avoid making the mistakes of writing 5-6 sentences for the first bullet points and then reducing the number of sentences for the remaining bullet points. Try to write equal content for all the bullet points.

Use proper tense

The questions given will be in a variety of tenses because the examiner will be wanting to know whether you be able to identify the tenses given. That is why you should always make plan so that you will be able to understand in which tense the sentence is and you will be able to write the answer also in the same tense as the question that is given.

Write the proper beginning and ending to the letter

There will be different endings and beginnings to different types of letters. You should be able to understand the difference between each. How to begin and end the letter of different styles can be understood only when there is a proper practice taken. So it is important to take practice before actually going and taking up the IELTS exam.

Written By

Misbah Kagad is a Content Marketing Specialist, currently working as IELTS Trainer at ieltsmaterial.com. Experience Expert with a demonstrated history of working in the education management industry. Skilled in Copywriting, Web Content writing, Management, IELTS and Research. Strong professional with a Diploma focused in Computer Science... Currently helping aspirants to crack IELTS, with tips and tricks to score a bandwidth of 8 and more. Handles the ideation and creation of compelling content including content for IELTS website, writing e-books and solving previous IELTS question papers…

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