IELTS Letter Writing Tips: Essential Top 10 Tips

  • Team MasterPrep
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  • Nov 22, 2022 01:07 PM

Letter writing in the IELTS exam assesses your everyday language and whether you can work and integrate into an English language society. This blog will explain the basics and advanced techniques related to IELTS letter writing. You will come across some things to do and some things you must not and get a better score.

Sixty minutes are allotted for the IELTS Writing test, 20 minutes for Task 1 and 40 minutes for Task 2. You must produce a letter of at least 150 words for IELTS General Writing Task 1. Depending on the circumstance, it may be a personal, semi-formal, or official letter.

The motive of the question

You must compose a letter to respond to a situation, describe a scenario, or ask for information. You are given guidelines for the details that should be in your letter. Your band score will be low if you don't address all the points in your letter. You are graded on the following in IELTS Writing Task 1 :

  1. Task Achievement
  2. Grammatical Range and Accuracy
  3. Lexical Resource
  4. Coherence and Cohesion

1. DETERMINE THE TYPE OF LETTER

The moment you get the question paper in the exam, the first step to answering the task 1 question must be identifying and determining the type of letter question. FORMAL, INFORMAL OR SEMI-FORMAL are the three types you may select and subsequently decide the tone of your letter based on that. In the IELTS exam, formal letter writing subjects can be categorized into ten different categories:

  1. A Complaint Letter
  2. A Review Letter
  3. A Feedback Letter
  4. A Resignation Letter
  5. An Application Letter
  6. An Apology Letter
  7. An Arrangement Letter
  8. An Explanation Letter
  9. An Invitation Letter

Also read : IELTS Writing Task 2 – Academic and General Topics with Sample Answer

IELTS Informal Letter

It's a personal letter regarding social and personal circumstances to someone you know or near you, as the name implies. Since there are so many options when writing to a friend or someone close to us, informal letter-writing topics are more difficult to categorize or group than formal letter topics.

A fine example of Informal letter writing would be :
Please write a letter inviting your friend inviting them to your wedding. In your letter :

  • Tell your friend about your wedding
  • Explain why their presence at your wedding is important to you
  • Suggest that they will stay with you at your place

IELTS Semi-Formal Letter

While the difference between formal and informal letters is evident, a semi-formal letter is written when an informal entity converges into a formal situation, i.e. you know that person, but the bonding is formal

For example:
Your Neighbours use loudspeakers, and that disturbs you. Write a complaint letter to the secretary of the society. In your letter :

  • Tell them that your Neighbours are bothering you with the loudspeakers
  • Explain the whole situation to your secretary
  • Ask for the secretary's help by intervening in the situation

Also read : IELTS WRITING TASK 1 – Pie Chart Model Score 9

2. CHOOSE AN APPROPRIATE TONE AND STICK WITH IT THROUGHOUT :

Informal: You should employ a casual tone if the person is a buddy. We don't need to be overly formal when speaking to individuals we know well, and the letter should have a friendly tone .

Formal: You should employ a formal tone if you have never met the individual and don't know their first or last name. It would be best if you utilized a formal tone for application and complaint letters. Formal language allows us to appear respectable and professional, but when used with people we know, it frequently comes across as aloof or hostile .

Semi-Formal: The one that commonly confuses people is semi-formal. Semi-formal is used when the other person's name is known, and the conversation takes place in a business or official setting. Consider sending a letter to a coworker or someone you know who works for a different company. Formal writing will come across as cold, while informal writing may come off as disrespectful. We should adopt a semi-formal approach here .

3. PUT YOUR LETTER IN THE STANDARD ESSAY FORMAT

Your thoughts must flow logically from one to the next. Which is possible by using the simple, 6-part structure .

  1. Dear ..... (Salutation)
  2. Paragraph 1: Purpose – why are you writing
  3. Paragraph 2: Write about 1st bullet point
  4. Paragraph 3: Write about 2nd bullet point
  5. Paragraph 4: Write about 3rd bullet point

Also read : IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer Band 9

4. DO NOT OVER OR UNDERWRITE:

If you write a long and elaborate letter, it might not work in your favour, and neither will the situation if you write less than 150 words. The time you spend on task 1 will decide the time left for task 2, although ideally, only 20 minutes must be spent on this. Write around 200 to 220 words, and ensure you follow everything mentioned in the instructions .

5. BE CREATIVE YET REALISTIC:

You will be given a circumstance in each case, along with some instructions. Nevertheless, it's crucial to remember that you still need to exercise your creativity a lot. For some people, this is very challenging; many of you are unfamiliar with the situation .
All of the information from the prompt must be considered in your writing, but much imagining is also required. If you are asked to write a restaurant owner to complain, you must consider these things. For instance, what was wrong with the food ?
It would be best if you exercised caution not to allow your creative desires to run amok. Try to be as realistic as possible; otherwise, the examiner won't find it credible. Anything that seems too outlandish and odd will sound unpleasant, and you won't receive a high mark. It would be best if you thus used your imagination to create plausible scenarios that promptly match the provided.

Also read : IELTS Writing Task 2: Tips, Lessons & Models

6. ADDRESS ALL PARTS OF THE QUESTIONS :

You need to read the question carefully and plan by addressing each part as per the points and situation mentioned. Each question is different; therefore, you cannot memorize any of them. Instead, read the question carefully and then act.

7. EVERYDAY LANGUAGE :

The GT test uses and expects the candidates to use everyday English to motivate people to use COLLOCATIONS, etcetera. Letters are talks that have been written to convey information effectively and creatively. Therefore, all letters are personal, regardless of their formal or informal tone, because they are written by us and for us (to communicate with others) .

Also read : IELTS Sample Charts for Writing Task 1 Practice

8. MODAL VERBS :

Modal verbs are the words which make the sentences sound softer and politer, making the statements less direct .

Modal verb Expression Example
Can Possibility  It can be freezing here in winter
Could General statements about the future from the past It could be freezing there in winter
May Something possible, but not certain They may come by car.
Might Guesses about the past/ possible but uncertain It’s ten o’clock. They might have arrived by now .

9. GRAMMAR :

Make sure that you use appropriate grammar and a range of words which are topic specific also. Any letter must convey the right message or information; sometimes, wrong grammar can change the meaning completely .

10. INFORMAL LETTERS AND CONTRACTIONS :

When writing an informal letter, you must use contractions wherever possible. However, contractions should not be used in formal or semi-formal letters, nor task 2 .

If you want to know more about the IELTS and its related modules, then you can simply click here.

Also read : Why many people are unable to score well in IELTS Writing