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Writing task 1 general

In Task 1 of the IELTS General Writing section, you must write a letter about a given situation. This letter will
be one of the following types:
Style Characteristics Opening Ending
Formal
To someone you have not met,
whose name you don't know
Dear Sir /
Madam
Yours
faithfully
Semi-
formal
To someone you may or may not have met, whose last
name you know & use
Dear Mr
Brown,
Dear Ms
Stone
Yours
sincerely
Informal
To someone you know well, whose first
name you know and use
Dear John
Dear Anita
Best regards
Warm
wishes
Each kind of letter requires a different style of writing, a specific beginning and ending salutation, formal or
informal expressions and varying types of grammatical forms. As you read through the sample IELTS letters
below, take note of how they vary depending on the level of familiarity with the person being written to. Practice
writing your own letters from sample letter topics, until you can produce all three kinds of letters easily and
quickly. Then, you will be able to complete this task effectively and easily on the day of your IELTS exam.
Also, every General IELTS Writing Task 1 includes three bulleted points which you need to mention in your
letter. Make sure you include these three points or else you will not get high marks, no matter how well you
write.
IELTS Letter Writing Tips -
10 Ways to Get Higher Marks on the IELTS Letter Writing Task
1. Identify the type of letter you are being asked to write. Is it a formal, semi-formal or informal letter? The
entire tone of your letter is based on your answer to this question. Adjust your style and choice of words
according to the type of letter you have been asked to write.
2. Open and close the letter correctly. Remember that each type of letter requires a different opening and
closing (formal / informal).
Style Characteristics Opening Ending
Formal
To someone you have not met, whose
name you don't know
Dear Sir /
Madam
Yours faithfully
Semi-
formal
To someone you may or may not have
met, whose last name you know & use
Dear Mr Brown,
Dear Ms Stone
Yours sincerely
Informal
To someone you know well, whose
first name you know and use
Dear John
Dear Anita
Best regards
Warm wishes

3. Open a formal and semi-formal letter with a formal sentence. Don't try to be friendly, as you do not know
the person you are writing to. Get right down to business and indicate the reason you are writing, as shown
below:
Dear Sir / Madam,
I am writing to inquire about / I am writing in connection with...
Dear Mr Jones,
I am writing to inform you ... / I am writing in connection with...
4. Open an informal letter with a general, friendly paragraph. With friends whom we know, we care about
the whole person. We have a broader relationship in the context of which this communication is taking place.
So it is best to acknowledge that friendship first, before getting down to the reason for your letter. In fact, the
first paragraph could be purely friendly small talk, unrelated to the reason for your writing. Look at the example
below:
Dear Jane
I hope you and your family are all well. It was such a pleasure to see you again last summer. We sure had a
great time catching up with each other after so many years. You have always been a cherished friend, no
matter how much of a gap there has been since we met.
Anyway, the reason I'm writing is that I have some good news - I am getting married this summer...
5. Identify the main purpose of the letter. Are you asking for help, apologizing, inviting someone,
complaining or thanking someone? Learn appropriate and polite expressions that will support what you need to
say.
6. Learn and use standard written phrases. Students sometimes struggle to finish their writing in time. This
happens when you are trying to write every sentence from scratch. The fact is, in conventional letter writing in
English, we use a number of standard expressions and phrases and add on to them the specific information we
wish to communicate. By learning how to use these expressions, you will find the letter writing task much
easier and will never have to fight for time.
7. Make sure you write at least 150 words. Practice writing letters till you know what 150 words feels like and
looks like. You will lose marks if you write less. You will not lose marks if you write more; the only restriction on
writing more is in terms of time, not the number of words.
8. Learn the correct spelling of commonly used words. It is surprising how many IELTS students make a
mistake when spelling words such as "sincerely", "faithfully", "in connection with" and so on. You can prevent
yourself from losing marks by learning the correct spelling of these words and expressions which you are highly
likely to use on your exam.
9. Stay on topic. In order to complete your letter within 20 minutes or less, practice writing letters where you
stick to the point. The General IELTS Task 1 does require you to make up a bit of a story to complete your
letter, but don't make your story so complicated that you run out of time.
10. Include all three bulleted points. If you exclude even one of the points given to you in the question
prompt, you will lose valuable marks. Practice writing letters that include the three points and go back and
check that you have included them in each practice exercise you do.

Remember in the IELTS Writing Task 1 (General Training) you are assessed on:
- Task Achievement (how well you answer the question)
- Coherence and Cohesion (the layout, and ordering and linking of ideas in your letter)
- Lexical Resource (use of appropriate vocabulary)
- Grammatical Range and Accuracy (the accuracy and range of the grammar you use)

Writing task 1 general topics
Formal/informal
Before you start writing, you should decide whether the letter is more formal or less formal. If you are writing to someone you dont
know, it will be more formal; if you are writing, to a friend, it will be more informal.
Choosing your vocabulary
Before you start writing, you decide what type of vocabulary you will need. This will include:
topic vocabulary
letter writing phrases
You will find a selection of good letter writing phrases to download on my letter vocabulary page.

Informal IELTS letter questions
Invitations
You won a competition and received a vacation for two as a prize. Write a letter to ask them to go on holiday with you. In the letter,
you should:
tell him/her about the competition you won,
state what kind of vacation it is,
explain why you would like him/her to go on holiday with you
You should write at least 150 words.
You do NOT need to write your own address.
Begin your letter as follows:
Dear __________


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
You should write at least 150 words.
You do NOT need to write your own address.
Begin your letter as follows:
Dear __________


Making the letter more informal
Here are some tips on how to make your letters more informal. The general idea is that your more informal writing should look a little
like speech:
Short forms
In more formal academic writing, you should never use short forms, but you can (and perhaps should) in this type of letter. So
I have = Ive
I am = Im
I will = Ill
It is/It has = Its
Pronouns being personal
In more formal/academic writing, we normally avoid using first and second person pronouns and tend to use more impersonal
language. In more informal letters, it is generally best to be as personal as possible:
It seems like a sensible idea = I think its a good idea
One thing to do would be = You should try
Sentence length and direct questions
In more formal/academic writing, you should avoid very short sentences. In this type of writing, you can use some very short
sentences often this works best with direct questions. Be a little careful with this, however. You also need to include longer and
more complex sentences as well to show that you variety of grammar. Here are some possibilities for you to consider:
How about it?
What do you think?
Idioms and phrasal verbs
Normally, when we are writing more formally, we avoid using idioms and phrasal verbs as they are more typical of spoken language.
It is, however, quite possible to use some idioms and phrasal verbs in less formal letters. Here are some phrasal verbs you could
use:
visit = drop by or come round
investigate = look into
manage = get by
meet/find = come across
Vocabulary choice
In more formal/academic writing, there are some words we normally avoid using, but which you can use in this less formal type of
writing. These words are either very simple general use words or imprecise words:
get = more formally become or receive or obtain
great = excellent
really = extremely
thing = object/activity
sort of = type of
Direct language and politeness
If you are writing a more formal letter, you need to be careful that it is appropriately polite. When you are writing to a friend,
however, you do not need to be so polite. Typically, when we are polite we use more indirect language, but with friends we are
much more direct and can even use imperative forms. So for example:
I would like = I want
I would be grateful if you could come = Please come
The model letter
Dear Pablo,
Ive got some really exciting news to share with you. Guess what? Ive won a holiday for two people in a competition. I do hope that
you can come with me.
All I had to do to win the competition was write a slogan for a local travel agency. My winning submission was Fly LTC and see the
world. As I said, my prize is a holiday and it is a cruise around the Mediterranean for a fortnight. The ship is the latest luxury liner
and has all sorts of entertainment facilities including a swimming pool, a cinema complex and onboard tennis courts. It sounds as if
it should be great fun.
I really hope that you are available sometime this summer. Id love it if you could come with me, as it sounds just your cup of tea and
you could always act as an interpreter for me when we get to Spain!
I need to book the cruise quite soon, so just drop me a line if you are free.
All the best
Angela


Some advice
Your friend is an expert in international food and is going to publish a book soon.Write a letter to him describing a special dish from
your country. In your letter you should
describe a special dish from your country
explain what season people prefer to eat it in
say why your friend should include this dish in his book

An English-speaking friend has written to you to say that he/she is planning to visit your country.
Write a letter to your friend. In your letter
give advice about where he/she should go
explain what the best time of year to come is
invite him/her to stay with you for a few days
You should write at least 150 words.
You do NOT need to write your own address.
Begin your letter as follows:
Dear __________

The question
Your friend is an expert in international food and is going to publish a book soon. Write a letter to him describing a special dish from
your country. In your letter you should
describe a special dish from your country
explain what season people prefer to eat it in
say why your friend should include this dish in his book
You should understand from this question that you need to write a more informal letter as you are writing to a friend.
The vocabulary
This is potentially a nasty question if youre a non-cooking male like me. However, what you need to remember is that you only need
a few cooking words to write the letter just enough to show that you can write/speak about food in abnormal way. There is no
need to give a detailed recipe IELTS isnt like that. No technical language is required. Al you need is a selection of these basic
cooking words with some food words: 6/7 topic words is plenty.
dish meal lunch- dinner-course-delicacy -cuisine-cooking
delicious-tasty-spicy-sour-sweet-savoury
recipe-ingredients
boil -fry-roast-grill
It would be a mistake to forget that you rare writing to a friend who is going to publish a book, so you also need to think about some
book words such as:
book publish author chapter/section
Being informal top and tail your letter with news
If youre writing a more informal letter to a friend, then it is normal to open and close your letter with something social. This does not
need to relate 100% to the letter, you just need to show that you are writing to a friend. Examples of the type of phrases you can
consider using are:
It was great to hear from you again. [opening]
I really look forward to meeting up with you soon and dont forget to give my love to your family. [closing]
The sample letter
Dear Joe
It seems like ages since Ive heard from you. I understand from Bill that youre writing a book on international cuisine.
Can I suggest you include a recipe for roast beef and Yorkshire pudding in the UK chapter? It really is the ultimate British dish as its
not just the meal we traditionally have for Sunday lunch, but its what most people think of when they think of British cooking. While I
suppose the beef is simple enough, the Yorkshire pudding is quite something and a real local delicacy and your book wouldnt be
complete without it. Its so traditional we eat it all year round, although I suppose its really a winter meal to be eaten i n front of a
good log fire.
Anyway, I hope you dont get too stressed by the book and that it gets published on time. When it does come out, I hope youll
remember your old friend and send me a copy.
Hope to hear from you soon,
George

Semi-formal IELTS letter questions
A request
You are not happy with the course you are doing at college and would like to change to a different course. Write a letter to the
college director requesting to change your course. You should include details about:
what course are you doing now
why you are not satisfied with that course
what course would you like to change to
You should write at least 150 words.
You do NOT need to write your own address.
Begin your letter as follows:
Dear __________

Understanding the letter question
You are not happy with the course you are doing at college and would like to change to a different course. Write a letter to the
college director requesting to change your course. You should include details about:
what course are you doing now
why you are not satisfied with that course
what course would you like to change to
The focus of the letter
While you must write about each topic in the question, this does not mean that you need to write the same amount about each topic.
In this question, I would suggest that you should focus on the reasons why you are not satisfied with your current course.
Think about who you are writing to
This is a semi-formal letter as you are writing to someone you know, but that person is in authority. This means that:
your language should be more formal
you need to be reasonably polite (it isnt sensible to be rude about your current course)
Structuring your letter
It is important that you remember to use paragraphs in your letter. The normal structure is that you start any letter by sayi ng why
you are writing and you finish it by saying what you expect to happen next. In this case:
paragraph 1: you need to change course (why you are writing)
paragraph 2: try to persuade your college director to let you change course by giving reasons why you want to change course
paragraph 3: ask to set up a meeting to discuss the problem (what you want to happen next)
Topic vocabulary
If you get a question like this about education, you should be happy as you should have lots of words to use. It is also good advice
to write about what you know about and so I have chosen to make my model letter about studying IELTS. Take a look at some of
the education language I used.
Dear Mr Jones
I am writing to ask whether it is possible to change my course. I am currently studying on a general English programme and I would
like to enrol on an academic IELTS course instead.
The principle reason why I would like to change my course is that I do not believe the general English course is relevant to me
because it is intended for students who wish to improve their social English. My circumstances are that I require a band 7.0 in order
to be accepted on the masters programme at Aston University. Unless I obtain this score by the beginning of the next academic
year, I will lose my place on the course and will need to return to my country. This being the case, I believe that it is essential that I
get tuition in academic writing and IELTS skills.
I understand that it may be difficult to change my course mid-semester, but this is an urgent priority for me. If it would help, I would
be delighted to discuss this with you in person.
Yours sincerely
Khaled Abdullah
Formal/politeness language
Take a look at the language I have highlighted in blue and then read my notes below. A lot of this language you can borrow for your
own letters.
Dear Mr Jones
I am writing to ask whether it is possible to change my course. I am currently studying on a general English programme and I would
like to enrol on an academic IELTS course instead.
The principle reason why I would like to change my course is that I do not believe the general English course is relevant to me
because it is intended for students who wish to improve their social English. My circumstances are that I require a band 7.0 in order
to be accepted on the masters programme at Aston University. Unless I obtain this score by the beginning of the next academic
year, I will lose my place on the course and will need to return to my country. This being the case, I believe that it is essential that I
get tuition in academic writing and IELTS skills.
I understand that it may be difficult to change my course mid-semester, but this is an urgent priority for me. If it would help, I would
be delighted to discuss this with you in person.
Yours sincerely
Khaled Abdullah
Notes
I am writing to - this is a standard formula you can use to start most more formal letters: it shows why you are writing
I would like to - this is a politeness phrase. Be very careful about using I want in English as it can be too direct/rude in more
formal writing
The principle reason why I would like to - This is a more formal way of saying I want to do this because
I do not believe - Note how in this letter I do not use short forms like dont. This is normal in more formal letters.
in order to be accepted - This is a more formal way of saying To get on
Unless I obtain this score - One word you should try and avoid using too much in more formal writing is get. Here in a less formal
letter I might write If I dont get this score
I believe that it is essential - Another word that you should be careful about using in more formal/polite letters is must. It can be a
very strong word in English and used wrongly quite rude. Here I use it is essential instead.
I understand that it may be difficult - One tip here is to think about the person you are writing to. It is probably the case that the
course director may not want to change your course. One way to persuade him/her is to say you know that it is a big favour youre
asking.
If it would help, I would be delighted to discuss this with you in person - this is a nice phrase you can borrow and use in other formal
letters.


An explanation
You are staying in rented accommodation. You recently held a party to celebrate your birthday. Several neighbours have
complained about the noise to your landlord.
Write a letter to your landlord. In your letter:
apologise for the disturbance
explain the situation
say how you will remedy the situation
You should write at least 150 words.
You do NOT need to write your own address.
Begin your letter as follows:
Dear __________

Formal IELTS letter questions
A complaint
You have just bought a new mobile phone from a website on the internet. When it was delivered, the phone was faulty.
Write a letter to the website. In the letter:
introduce yourself
explain the situation
state what action you want to be taken
You should write at least 150 words.
You do NOT need to write your own address.
Begin your letter as follows:
Dear __________

Reading the question
You have just bought a new mobile phone from a website on the internet. When it was delivered, the phone was faulty.
Write a letter to the website. In the letter:
introduce yourself
explain the situation
state what action you want to be taken
1. Answer all parts of the question
The first point to see is that this question asks you to write about 3 different points. You must remember that it is not enough to say
what the problem is, but you must also say who you are and what you want to happen next.
2. Think about what the main reason of the letter is its a letter of complaint
Most IELTS letters have a function: explaining/apologising etc. This letter is really just a letter of complaint and that means you need
to use some good complaining language.
3. Think about who you are writing to
It is always important to think about who you are writing to,as that will tell you whether you need to use more formal or less formal
language. You should see here that you are writing to someone you dont know and that it is quite a business-y letter that means
you need some more formal language.
4. Think about what vocabulary you need
Vocabulary is 25% of your score, so it makes sense to think about what words you need the clue is always in the question. My
suggestion is that you should brainstorm some language before you start writing. If you do not do this, you might use too simple
vocabulary or repeat words too much. this should also give you ideas for writing. Here are the words I found:
mobile phone: handset/text/camera phone/smart phone/message/screen
website/internet: online/connect
bought: purchase/customer/shop/store/product/service/cost/price
faulty: not work/malfunction/break/unreliable
Complaining language
Letters of complaint are quite common and it is sensible to prepare some language to help you write them. Here are some simple
variations:
I am writing to complain
I must complain
I would like to complain
My complaint is
I am unhappy with
I am dissatisfied with
Unfortunately,
Structuring the letter
Generally, IELTS letters are quite easy to organise as you just need to follow the 3 different points the question asks you to write
about and use a paragraph for each one of them. If you do this, you make sure that you get a good Task Response score by
answering the question fully. Two points to remember ( and these are good for life and not just IELTS):
The introduction
You should say clearly what the purpose of the letter is. The standard language in a more formal letter like this is:
I am writing to [complain]
The conclusion
You should say what you expect to happen next. This will normally involve asking the other person to contact you in some way.
Again, there is standard language here:
I look forward to
Note that if you use this phrase with a verb following it, the verb needs to be in an -ing form (eg I look forward to hearing form you).
Read the letter
Dear Sirs,
I am writing to you to complain about the mobile I bought from your online store on 23 November. I have been a loyal customer of
yours for the last 4 years and have successfully made many purchases over the years. Unfortunately, however, this time I am
dissatisfied with the service you have provided.
The mobile telephone I ordered was the latest smart phone, the Samsung Android SA23. My reasons for choosing this model was
that you advertised it on your website as having the new Swype texting system and complete social network support. Unfortunately,
neither of these functions work properly. When I try to write a text message, the system either crashes or switches into Chinese and
does not recognise the words. Likewise, the telephone does not have the advertised complete social network support, as I am
unable to upload photographs to Twitter and Facebook.
For these reasons, I would ask you either to refund the purchase price in full or send me a replacement handset. I look forward to
your immediate response.
Yours faithfully




An application
You are looking for part-time employment.
Write a letter to an employment agency. In your letter
introduce yourself
explain what type of work you are looking for
say what experience and skills you have
You should write at least 150 words.
You do NOT need to write your own address.
Begin your letter as follows:
Dear __________





Band score 8 in writing grammatical accuracy

Step 1 understand the rules of the game (the band score criteria)
The first step must be to understand how the writing is marked. If you dont do that, your chances are much reduced. Let me
explain. Native speakers sometimes have to take IELTS too. They dont always do so well and occasionally embarrass themselves
by not getting a band 8 score. Why? Are they not:
Band 8 Very Good User
Has fully operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and inappropriacies.
Misunderstandings may occur in unfamiliar situations. Handles complex detailed argumentation well.
Of course they are. They simply havent understood the rules of the game. The rules are like this.
Writing is marked according to 4 criteria (lexical resource/grammatical range and accuracy/coherence and cohesion/task
response)
You get a score out of 9 for each of these and then the marks are averaged to give you your final score
The reality is that if you get much less than 8.0 in any one of those criteria, it becomes much harder to get a final 8.0. Your aim has
to be to get 8.0 in each criteria. If you dont, you probably need to improve your score in the other criteria tough.
Grammar its about range and accuracy
This is what it says about grammar.
uses a wide range of structures
the majority of sentences are error-free
makes only very occasional errors or inappropriacies
One point to note is that it is not just about how many mistakes you make. You also need a wide range of structures too. I will
explain more about that in a later lesson.
The majority of the sentences are error-free
This means that if your essay has around 15 sentences ( a good number), then you probably need to write about 10 entirely correct
sentences. That means no mistakes.
Makes only very occasional errors or inappropriacies
In a way, this is another way of saying the same thing. You need to write in such a way as the examiner is surprised when you get
something wrong.
How can you achieve this? Learn to check for mistakes
The one thing that will not work is writing very simple language and only concentrate on not making mistakes. You need to a range
of grammar too remember. What it does mean is:
you almost certainly need a teacher to check your writing and tell you where you make mistakes
you need to build a checklist of the type of mistakes you make most people have their own mistakes and it also makes
sense to concentrate on common bits of grammar like countables and uncountables as you will use these in every
sentence.
you need to understand that grammar is more than just verb tenses: it includes things like word order too
you need to learn to check your own writing (my personal suggestion is that you dont leave this to the end of the essay
when you are tired, but you check as you go)
How can you achieve this? Think before you write
As a teacher, I find that a large proportion of students mistakes are made not because they dont know the grammar, but rather
because they got the writing process wrong. They write. They stop. They think. They write again. The first bit of the sentence is okay
and sos the second bit. Its just that the two halves dont match. You may be surprised by how many mistakes you avoid by
knowing how you want to end the sentence before you start writing it.
How can you achieve this? Use plain English
I said above that you should not use too simple English. That is true. What is also true, however, is that it makes sense to avoid
complicated English as well it is only likely to cause more mistakes. This is not just good advice for the exam, it is good advice for
life too (Macmillan dictionary page and Michael McCarthy a leading academic).
Some basics for writing plainer English
avoid long, long sentences (20 words is a long sentence, unless its structure is very simple)
dont forget the basic S-V-O structure of English and think word order (many mistakes in more complex sentences happen
when the subject gets separated from the verb)
try verbs instead of abstract nouns where you can
be careful with relative clauses and other complex structures (one relative is more than enough for each sentence)
try and formulate the whole sentence in your head before you start writing. If you cant, it may be that the sentence is not
complex but complicated not a good thing
How can you achieve this? Avoid complicated ideas and writing too much
There are no marks in IELTS for quality of ideas. They need to be relevant to the question, but that is all. It really makes no
difference if the examiner disagrees with your thoughts. Many candidates who are aiming for a high score (perhaps because they
are smart), try to show off with great ideas.
Problem you have 40 minutes and you are writing in a second language.
Bigger problem if you try and write something clever, there is a good chance that your language will become over-
complex and you will make mistakes you didnt need to.
Point to consider the more you write: the more likely you are to make mistakes and the less likely you are to
have time to check
Its a language test: always remember that.


Sample letters:
Below is a sample letter response to Task 1 of the General IELTS Writing Section. It is a formal letter,
which can be identified in several ways:

the tone, which is official, business-like and serious

the use of Dear Sir / Madam

the absence of contractions

the use of formal expressions (I am writing in connection with...)

the closing salutation ( "Yours faithfully" instead of the more informal "Yours sincerely" or "Best
regards")
GENERAL WRITING TASK 1
You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.
You recently stayed in a hotel in a large city. The weather was very unusual for the time of year and the
heating / cooling system in the hotel was quite inadequate.
Write a letter to the manager of the hotel. In your letter:

give details of what went wrong

explain what you had to do to overcome the problem at the time

say what action you would like the manager to take


You should write at least 150 words.
You do NOT need to write your own address.
Begin your letter as follows:
Dear __________
Dear Sir / Madam
I am writing in connection with my recent stay at the Four Seasons in London, England. Unfortunately,
due to a malfunctioning heater in my room, I spent three miserable nights at your hotel from April 26 29,
2010.
When I arrived in London, there was an unexpected snowstorm. I understand it does not usually snow
inApril; however, when I got to my room, there was no heat. After complaining, a technician was sent up,
who informed me they had to install a new heating unit. When I asked to be moved to another room, I
was told the hotel was completely booked. Unfortunately, each night after work I returned to discover the
problem had not been rectified. Eventually, I spent three horribly uncomfortable nights, wearing my coat
to bed, wearing socks around the room and ending up with a bad cold from the unheated room. I had no
time to complain as I had to catch a flight home right after my conference.
I am shocked by this terrible service. This is not what anyone expects for $400 a night! To compensate
me for this tremendous inconvenience, I ask that you refund my money right away and offer me a free,
more comfortable stay in one of your finer suites in the future. If not, I am prepared to take my complaint
to a higher authority.
I look forward to hearing from you at the earliest,
Yours faithfully,
Mr John McFee
(236 words)

Below is a sample letter response to Task 1 of the General IELTS Writing Section. It is a formal letter,
which can be identified in several ways:

the tone, which is formal and business-like and serious

the use of Dear Sir / Madam

the absence of contractions

the use of formal expressions ("Thank you kindly in advance.")

the closing salutation ( "Yours faithfully", etc.)


GENERAL WRITING TASK 1
You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.
You have received a letter from your bank, asking you to acknowledge receipt of a new bank card.
However, the card was missing from the envelope.
Write a letter to the bank's head office. In your letter:

explain why you are writing

express concern about the missing card

ask them what they intend to do


Write at least 150 words.
You do NOT need to write any address.
Begin your letter as follows:
Dear __________
Dear Sir / Madam
I am writing in connection with a missing or stolen debit card from your bank. This is an urgent matter as
the bank card could prove dangerous in the hands of the wrong person.
Just yesterday, I received a letter from your bank's head office. It stated that my new bank card was
enclosed and asked me to acknowledge receipt. However, when the envelope arrived in my mailbox, it
was in a tattered state. More importantly, the debit card which was supposed to be included, was missing.
I checked and rechecked around the mailbox, but found nothing. I am concerned that someone has gone
through my mail and possibly stolen the card.
For this reason I request that you cancel the existing debit card immediately. The debit card in question is
related to my account number 64729401 at your Bay and Bloor branch. After it has been cancelled,
please arrange to send me a new one, as I need to travel overseas next week and will need to carry the
new bank card with me.
Thank you kindly in advance,
Yours faithfully,
Ms Brenda Holster
(172 words)

Below is a sample letter response for Task 1 of the General IELTS Writing Section. It is a formal letter,
which can be identified in several ways:

the tone, which is straightforward and direct

the use of Dear Sir / Madam

the absence of contractions

the use of formal expressions ("I am writing in connection with...")

the closing salutation ( "Yours faithfully", etc.)


WRITING TASK 1
You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.
You eat at your college cafeteria at lunch time every day.. However, you think it needs some
improvements. Write a letter to the college magazine. In your letter:

explain what you like about the cafeteria

say what is wrong with it

suggest how it could be improved


Write at least 150 words.
Begin your letter as follows:
Dear __________
Dear Sir / Madam
I am writing in connection with our college cafeteria. Since almost every student spends some time here
every day, I believe it is in everyone's best interest to find ways to improve the quality of this central
eatery.
The cafeteria itself is modern, spacious and attractive. The newly painted murals of the seaside give the
seating area an open, airy, outdoor feeling which makes it very pleasant to eat meals there. This is further
enhanced by the large green plants and flowing water fountains.
The main problem with the cafeteria is in the food served! First of all, there is a very limited selection
available. Each day offers up only standard North American fare of hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken
nuggets and french fries. Not only is this selection unhealthy, but also uninteresting day in and day out.
We have so many international students on campus, it would be wonderful to have some curries, burritos
and falafel added to the menu. Secondly, since this is a student cafeteria, prices need to stay low. We
have unfortunately seen two price hikes in the last two years.
I am sure if we offer a wider range of foods, at better prices, the cafeteria will continue to run profitably as
more students choose to eat there.
Yours faithfully,
Daniel Bernard

Below is a sample letter for Task 1 of the General IELTS Writing Section. It is a semi-formal letter,
which can be identified in several ways:

the tone, which is a mix of politeness and warmth

the use of the last names (Dear Mrs Sweeney)

the absence of contractions

the use of formal expressions (I would appreciate it if...)

the closing salutation (Yours sincerely)


WRITING TASK 1
You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.
You are applying for a job and need a letter of reference from someone who knew you when you were at
school.
Write a letter to one of your old teachers asking for a reference. In your letter:

say what job you have applied for

explain why you want this job

suggest what information the teacher should include


Write at least 150 words.



Begin your letter as follows:
Dear __________
Dear Mrs Sweeney
How are you? I hope everything is fine at the school and that you have been well. I still remember the
dynamic way in which you taught grammar to me and all of the teacher trainees in your English class.
Thanks again for those important lessons.
I am writing in connection with a letter of reference that I need for a job that I have applied for recently. As
I am due to graduate next month, I have applied for a position as an ESL teacher at a private language
school in Tokyo, Japan. You might remember my telling you how very much I looked forward to teaching
and traveling around the world. Now I have the chance. I am confident that I can make a difference in the
lives of students who need to learn English.
In the letter of reference, I would appreciate it if you could include information related to my
trustworthiness, my enthusiasm and my cross-cultural awareness while in teacher training college. As the
job is in Japan, they do not have the chance to interview me and will base their decision largely on my
letters of reference. I would need to have the letter in two weeks, by July 1st.
Thank you kindly in advance,
Yours sincerely,
Grace Smith
Below is a sample letter for Task 1 of the General IELTS Writing Section. It is a semi-formal letter,
which can be identified in several ways:

the tone, which is a mix of formality plus warmth

the use of the last names (Dear Ms Walker)

the absence of contractions

the use of formal expressions (I would appreciate it if...)

the closing salutation (Yours sincerely)


WRITING TASK 1
You are going on a short training course at a college in Sydney, Australia. You need somewhere to live
while you are there.
Write a letter to the accommodation officer at the college. In your letter:
Write a letter to the accommodation officer at the college. In your letter:

explain your situation

describe the accommodation you require

say when you will need it


Write at least 150 words.
You do NOT need to write any address.
Begin your letter as follows:
Dear __________
Dear Mrs Walker
I am writing in connection with my upcoming training course at your college in Sydney, Australia. I will be
there to attend the Brain- Based Learning program at Victoria College for a period of three weeks from
July 2st to July 22st, 2010. I am hoping that you will be able to assist me with my accommodation
arrangements.
As I am slightly older than most of the other participants, I would appreciate it if you could find a private
studio apartment for me, close to the college. It would be ideal if I could walk to school each day, but if
not, I would need access to public transportation. I understand some of the events on campus finish quite
late so I would prefer not to walk in an unfamiliar neighbourhood after dark. In terms of the apartment, all I
require is a bed, a desk, a TV, an Internet connection, a kitchen and a bathroom. My budget is around US
$1000 for 3 weeks.
As I will be arriving on July 1st, I would need the apartment to be available from that night until the day of
my departure, which is July 23rd. My last night in the apartment would be July 22nd.
Please let me know if you are able to find such an apartment and if not, please suggest other suitable
arrangements. I look forward to hearing from you,
Yours sincerely,
Jane Goodwin
(236 words)
Below is a sample letter for Task 1 of the General IELTS Writing Section. It is a semi-formal letter,
which can be identified in several ways:

the tone, which is a mix of formality plus warmth

the use of the last names (Dear Mr Shah)

the absence of contractions

the use of formal expressions (I would appreciate it if...)

the closing salutation (Yours sincerely)


WRITING TASK 1
You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.
You have been living in a rental apartment for the past year. Recently a new neighbour moved in and has
been making a lot of noise, which disturbs you.
Write a letter to the landlord. In your letter:

explain the situation

describe why it bothers you

suggest a solution
Write at least 150 words.
You do NOT need to write any address.
Begin your letter as follows:
Dear __________

Dear Mr Shah
I hope you and your family are all well. I am writing in connection with a problem I have with the new
tenant, Jack, who has moved in downstairs. Unfortunately, his habits and needs appear to be quite
different from my own.
The issue is that Jack is a professional musician who plays his electric guitar late into the night. I
understand he is in a band and needs to practice; however, I think he cannot do so in a residential
building such as ours. As I mentioned to you when I signed the lease to the apartment, I am a full-time
writer who works from home. For me, it is essential to have silence so I can concentrate on my work. With
Jack playing at all hours, I have been unable to get any of my writing done, except when he is out. In
some cases, I have even been forced to leave the apartment and work at a nearby coffee shop or library
as the guitar playing was causing such a disturbance.
I would appreciate it if you could speak to Jack and ask him to turn down the volume on his guitar or else
to use headphones. I have spoken to him about it, but to no avail. I will let you know as soon as the
situation improves.
Thank you kindly in advance and please give my best regards to your family,
Yours sincerely,
Meg Snyder
(234 words)
Below is a sample letter for Task 1 of the General IELTS Writing Section. It is an informal letter, which
can be identified in several ways:

the tone, which is warm, easy-going and conversational

the use of first names (Ajay, Sunita, Carol)

the use of contractions (I've, don't, can't)

the use of informal expressions ("Thanks", instead of "Thank you")

the closing salutation ( "Warm wishes", instead of the more formal "Yours sincerely" or "Yours
faithfully")
WRITING TASK 1
You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.
Last month you had a holiday overseas where you stayed with some friends. They have just sent you
some photos of your holiday.
Write a letter to your friends. In your letter:

thank them for the photos and for the holiday

explain why you didn't write earlier

invite them to come and stay with you


Write at least 150 words.
You do NOT need to write any address.
Begin your letter as follows:
Dear __________

Dear Ajay and Sunita,
Thanks so much for your kind letter and the lovely photos of my holiday in Mumbai. Sorry for the delay in
acknowledging your mail, but your package arrived just as I was about to leave town on a business trip.
I've just returned to Toronto today.
Looking at the photos brings back so many happy memories of the times we spent together and the
wonderful hospitality you extended to me. I felt completely pampered by both of you! You surrounded me
with warm friends, good food, amazing sights, great shopping, unforgettable cultural events and laughter-
filled evenings. I would have been lost without you. I can't thank you enough.
These good memories gave me an idea. I know you've always wanted to visit Canada. Why don't you
plan a holiday and stay with me this summer? The weather is great at that time of year, all tourist sites
are open and I could take two weeks off from work. Aside from seeing Toronto, we could drive to Niagara
Falls, Thousand Islands, Montreal, Ottawa and Quebec City. I would be thrilled if you could make it.
Thank you both again for the beautiful holiday and the photos which are already up on my wall. Now, I'm
looking forward to hearing from you.
Warm wishes,
Carol
(216 words)

Below is a sample letter for Task 1 of the General IELTS Writing Section. It is an informal letter, which
can be identified in several ways:

the tone, which is warm, friendly and conversational

the use of first names (Eva, Brenda)

the use of contractions (you've, wasn't)

the use of informal expressions ("Sorry, but...", "how about you?")

the closing salutation ( "Warm wishes", instead of the more formal "Yours sincerely" or "Yours
faithfully")
WRITING TASK 1
You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.
You have recently started work in a new company.
Write a letter to an English-speaking friend. In your letter,

explain why you changed jobs

describe your new job

tell him / her your other news


Write at least 150 words.
You do NOT need to write any address.
Begin your letter as follows:
Dear __________,
Dear Eva,
How are you? I hope you've been well. Sorry for having been out of touch for a short while. There have
been some changes in my life and I wanted to let you know the latest from my side.
The big news is that I have finally changed my job! Do you remember when you were here on holiday, I
always talked about how I hated my boring bank job? Well, it was clear I needed a change. So, finally, I
took a part-time TESL course and trained to be an ESL teacher. Now I'm working full-time in a private
language school. I teach General English, Business English and IELTS. Each day, I look forward to going
to work. My students come from all over the world and I love teaching them as well as learning from them.
Aside from that, I also moved to a new apartment near the school where I work. It's small, but downtown,
so I am right in the heart of the city, instead of way out in the suburbs. Suddenly, there's so many fun
things to do, in the evenings too. I am a much happier person today because of these recent changes.
So, how about you? I hope you'll have a chance to visit Canada again soon. In the meantime, please
write and let me know what's new with you.
Warm wishes
Kim
(226 words)

Below is a sample letter for Task 1 of the General IELTS Writing Section. It is an informal letter, which
can be identified in several ways:

the tone, which is very warm, personal and friendly

the use of first names ( Julie, Irene)

the use of contractions (I'm, you're, can't)

the use of informal expressions (Thanks, Write soon)

the closing salutation ( Warm wishes, instead of the more formal "Yours sincerely" or "Yours faithfully")
WRITING TASK 1
You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.
An English-speaking friend wants to spend a two-week holiday in your region and has written asking for
information and advice. Write a letter to your friend. In your letter,

offer to find somewhere to stay

give advice about what to do

give information about what clothes to bring


Write at least 150 words.
You do NOT need to write any address.
Begin your letter as follows:
Dear __________,

Dear Julie
Thanks so much for your latest letter. I'm really excited to hear that you're planning to visit Toronto. It will
give me a chance to take you around, as you did so kindly for me when I was in Amsterdam last year.
Regarding your visit, I would be happy to help in any way possible. First, unless you really like freezing
weather, I suggest you come in the summer months of July or August. Though most hotels are expensive
at that time, we have some wonderful guest suites available in our high-rise building, for only about $50
per night. They are fully furnished studio apartments, with a kitchen, so you can have the option of eating
in. Just let me know your dates and I can make a reservation for you.
Summer is also the time when all the tourist sites are open. We can visit Centre Island, Canada's
Wonderland, Niagara Falls, the CN Tower, the Royal Ontario Museum, the Science Centre and Thousand
Islands. The weather should be warm and comfortable, around 25 30 degrees Celsius, so bring your
informal summer clothes, a swimsuit and an umbrella too. We do get summer showers quite often.
I can't wait for you to come! Write soon with more details,
Warm wishes
Irene
(207 words)

More examples
You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.
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
Write at least 150 words.
Model answer
Dear Sir/Madam,

I am a 21-year-old student and I am studying Sports Coaching Science at St Mary's University. I have
been studying there for the past three years. I am writing to ask if there are any part-time job vacancies at
your football club.

I really enjoy sport, and my areas of particular interest and experience are Football, Rugby and Cricket. I
have had some experience of coaching for these sports over the past three years that I have been at the
University. Last year, I worked in the holidays at a football club in my own country. I will be able to provide
references from this summer job and also from my teachers at the university.

I would prefer to work in the evenings and at the weekends, as I have classes during the daytime, and I
can start from the beginning of November.

I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.

Yours faithfully,

Adam Lawerence
(160 words)














You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.
You saw an advertisement for a tennis course in England but you have one or two problems and
cant stay the whole course.

Write a letter to the course director. In your letter:
explain your interest in the course
describe your problems
find out if a refund is possible
Write at least 150 words.

Model answer
Dear Sir or Madam,

Im writing in response to your advertisement on your website for a tennis course in Bath, England.

I have always wanted to play tennis so Im very interested in joining the course; however, I do not have
my own racquets and dont wish to buy racquets at this time. Is it possible for me to hire racquets and
balls for the duration of the course? Also I have poor eyesight and have to wear glasses all the time. I
would like to know if your course is suitable for someone like me.

Im afraid that I have to be back in Malaysia by 31st December so I am unable to stay in England for the
whole three weeks. Is it possible for me to get a partial refund if I want to leave one week before the end
of the course?

Im looking forward to hearing from you.

Yours faithfully,

Philip Wong
(156 words)

You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.
You are due to move into a rented apartment next month but you will not be able to because you
have some problems.

Write a letter to the landlord. In your letter:
explain your situation
describe your problems
tell him/her when you think you can move in
Write at least 150 words.
Dear Miss Berry,

As you know, I have rented 41 George Roche Road from you for six months from 15th August. However,
I am afraid I will no longer be able to move in on that date, as my plans have had to change because of
illness.

During the summer vacation, I was working in a company as a Project Manager. Towards the end of my
shift, I slipped and fell on a wet floor and broke my wrist. Luckily, it was a clean break and didn't require
surgery. However, it is my right wrist, and so I am unable to write for the time being.

At present, I am at home in Kuala Lumpur until the plaster can be taken off I think this should be in the
last week of September. I will then return to my course in Canterbury and take up residence at 41 George
Roche Road.

I hope this will not cause you any difficulties.

Yours sincerely,

Rachel Yu
(164 words)

You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.
You are a student at an English language school in Brighton and are living in private
accommodation with other flat mates. You have not had hot water or heating for some time. The
landlords workmen have tried to fix the problem but without success.

Write a letter to the landlord. In your letter:
state your reason for writing
describe the problems and explain how you feel
propose a solution and risk the landlord to take action
Write at least 150 words.
Model answer
Dear Mr. Jones,

I am one of the tenants at your property in Upper Lewes Road, and am writing to complain about the fact
that we do not have any hot water or heating in our house.

As you know, we have been living in this house since September and have always paid our rent on time.
However, we have had no hot water for last two weeks. This is making our lives very difficult, especially
as it is now the middle of winter. Last week you said you would send a workman to our house within 3
days, but no one came. After calling many times, the workman eventually arrived at the house 5 days
later. Unfortunately, he said he could not fix the problem because the boiler was too old! We are now
extremely unhappy about this solution.

We are prepared to continue to rent your house but please arrange for emergency repairs to be made.
We also request a 40% discount on our rent for the period we have been without any hot water or
heating.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Shannon Brown
(188 words)


You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.
You are going on a short course to a training college abroad. It is a college that you have not been
to before.

Write a letter to the accommodation officer. In your letter
give details of your course and your arrival/departure date
explain your accommodation needs
ask for information about getting to and from the college
Write at least 150 words.
Model answer
Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing to inform you that I will be attending the Advanced Life Insurance course, being held from
Tuesday 24th April until 27rd April, at the University of Hartford.

I will be arriving on the afternoon of Monday 23th and will be leaving on the morning of Saturday the 28th
of April, so I will require a single room for this time. I would prefer my own bathroom, if this is possible, but
do not mind sharing if I have to; however, as I am wheelchair bound, the room will have to be disability
friendly. Could you please tell me how much this will cost and how I should make a payment? Do you
accept VISA?

As I do not know the area, I would also be grateful if you could provide some information about getting to
and from the University. Will I need to take public transport from the station or is there a University bus
service? Any information on what to see and do in the area would also be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for your assistance.
Alex Jones
(184 words)

You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.
You are looking for a part-time job.

Write a letter to an employment agency. In your letter
introduce yourself
explain what sort of job you would like
and say what experience and skills you have
Write at least 150 words.
Dear Ms Rose,
I am a 26-year-old farmer and agronomist from Pakistan, and I have been accepted to do/take/complete a
one-month training course at Greenmount Agricultural College starting next January.
I would be grateful if You could either find me accommodation for the month or give me a list of
addresses which/that I could write to. I would like, if possible, to have rent/take/find a room in a family
house because I would like the opportunity/chance to practice my English at the same time. I will need a
room with a bed and a table so that I can study there also. If possible/available, I would prefer a room
near the college since I will only be in Greenmount for a short time and I will not have time to learn my
way around.
I will need the accommodation for five weeks from 28th December to the 3rd February as I would like to
arrive a few days before the course begins.
Could you also please tell me how much accommodation of this kind will cost and whether the price
include meals.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Yours sincerely,
Muhammad
You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.
A friend of yours is going on holiday soon and has asked you to recommend a destination.

Write a letter to your friend and recommend a good place for a holiday that you have visited
before. Say where you went, where you stayed, what you can do there and what the food was like.
You should write at least 150 words.
Model answer
Dear Sarah,

Thanks for your letter. Im glad you and the family are well. So, youre thinking of going on holiday in the
UK. Well I can certainly recommend one destination for you. I went one year to a place called Lochinver
in the north west of Scotland. Its quite a long trip to get there as its only about thirty miles from the north
coast but its worth it.

There are only a few places to stay. There are two hotels, the Kirkaig and the Assynt in the centre of
town, and a campsite just outside town. We stayed at the Kirkaig Hotel but I know you and your family are
keen campers so you might prefer the camping option.

There is a lot to do but its a bit dependent on the weather. Theres a beautiful beach, a golf course, the
fishing is excellent and there are fantastic hills nearby for walking in amazing scenery. If its wet theres a
small cinema in town but thats about all. Take some board games!

The food is typical British in the hotels but some of the Scottish specialities are fantastic. If youre
camping though, food will be up to you!

Anyway, Ive got to go out now and pick up the kids. Write again if you need any more information.

Regards,

Mary
(222 words)

You have just spent a weekend staying at the Lilo Hotel in Adelaide. When you get home you find
that you have left a bag at the hotel.
You should write at least 150 words.
You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.
Model answer:
Dear Mr. Simpson,

I stayed in your hotel on the 23rd and 24th of October. I was in Room 603. When I arrived home, I
discovered that I had left one of my bags at the hotel. Could you please check your Lost and Found
Department and see if my bag is there?

The bag is a small black leather, document case with a narrow strap. Inside the bag, you will find several
business cards, a fountain pen, a small address book, three copies of a business proposal and a silver
pocket calculator. These things are not very valuable in money terms, but they have a lot of personal
value.

I would appreciate it if you could contact me as soon as possible, particularly since I need the proposals
for a presentation this week. If you could send the bag to me by courier service, I would be most grateful.
I have arranged to pay for the service.

Thank you for your help.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Johnson

One of your friends wants to apply for a job involving working with foreign teenagers.

Write a letter of recommendation for him/her.
You should write at least 150 words.
You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.
Dear Sir or Madam,

I have learned from your newspaper advertisement that your center is organizing an international summer
camp for overseas teenagers, and you are looking for a bilingual assistant tutor to work with the children.
I am writing to you to recommend one of my best friends, Helen Wang, for this post.

Helen used to be my classmate at Beijing Normal University, where she was already a very active
organizer and participant in extracurricular activities. With her outstanding leadership skills and cheerful
personality, she was elected chairperson of the Student Union several times.

Busy as she was, she passed the College English Test Band Six and completed her major teenage
psychology with an excellent school record. Upon graduation she was assigned to be a teacher in an
international high school in Beijing, where she has been teaching bilingual lessons for five years. Whats
more, she loves her job and enjoys working with children. This has won her great popularity among her
students.

Therefore, I do not hesitate to recommend her as an ideal candidate for the post you advertised. I am
sure you will make a wise decision in hiring her.

Sincerely yours,

Victor Li
You are organising a trip to the Snowy Mountains in New South Wales for a group of students
from Perth in Western Australia.
Write to the manager of Student Hostel Services and explain when you want to visit the Snowy
Mountains, how long you will stay, how many students are in your party, and what
accommodation you will reuire.
Model answer
Dear Manager of Student Hostel Services,

I am writing to seek accommodation in the Snowy Mountains for a group of students from Perth.

We expect to be in the Snowy Mountains between June 1 and June 12. There are fourteen people in our
group, five men, seven women and a married couple. The five men will accept dormitory accommodation,
and the women are happy to share rooms, but the married couple would like a double room. We hope to
keep our expenses as low as possible.
Please tell me about recreational services in the area. The group will bring their own boots for
bushwalking, but we are hoping to hire equipment for other sports, like skiing. Some of our group will
want to hire geological picks and other equipment, if possible. We also need to know about access to
caves and other interesting geological features in the area.
I am looking forward to receiving information about the Student Hostel Services and other facilities.

Yours sincerely

Amanda Chan