Tips for writing letters in IELTS General Training

writing letters in IELTS general training -magoosh
Today’s the day! You’ve come across Writing Task 1 in your IELTS prep. In this IELTS General Training Writing Task 1, you need to write a letter responding to a given situation, explaining the situation or requesting information. In this task, you should spend 20 minutes to write a 150-word letter. The letter can be personal, semi-formal, or formal based on the situation. Here are some useful tips for writing letters in IELTS General Training for you to get better knowledge on the letter format as well as on how to structure your letter.

writing letters in IELTS General Training


Read Instructions Carefully

The instruction tells you about the purpose, content, and recipient of your letter. Here is a sample task from the British Council.

A friend has agreed to look after your house and pet while you are on holiday. Write a letter to your friend.

In your letter

  • give contact details for when you are away
  • give instructions about how to care for your pet
  • describe other household duties

Obviously, the recipient is your friend and the purpose is to give detailed information on looking after your house and pet. So, the three bullet points should be the main content of your letter.

Understand Different Types of Letter

There are three types of letters in the IELTS: a formal letter, a personal letter, or a semi-formal letter. We explain these more in the Magoosh IELTS prep product.

Formal letters: writing to someone you don’t know, such as a company

Semi-formal letters: writing to someone you don’t know well, such as your professor

Personal letters: writing to someone you know very well, such as a friend.

Therefore, the previous example is a personal letter. Also, check out our post on formal and informal writing in the IELTS to learn more about the language use in different situations.

Use Proper Opening and Closing

There are different ways to open and close a letter based on who you are writing to.

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Formal letters

Opening: Dear Sir/Madam

Closing: Yours faithfully + your full name


Semi-formal letters

Opening: Dear Mr./Miss/Mrs.+ the last name of the recipient

Closing: Yours sincerely + your full name


Personal letters

Opening: Dear + the first name of the recipient

Closing: Best regards + your first name


Structure Your Letter

Paragraph 1: Directly state the purpose of your letter in formal and semi-formal letters. Here are some useful sentences you can use in your writing.

Formal and semi-formal letters:

I am writing this letter with regard to…

I am writing to express my…

I am writing to inform you…

Personal letters usually include a greeting first and then state the purpose:

How are you doing?

I hope you are doing well.

How have you been?


Main body: In the main body, you can use three paragraphs to cover the bullet points one by one. Also, think of some relevant details to enrich the content of your letter.


Conclusion paragraph: Usually, you can use the last paragraph to call to action, express thanks or ask for a response. Here are some examples.

Formal/Semi-formal letters:

If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Personal letters:

I can’t wait to hear from you.

Looking forward to seeing you soon.

For more writing tips, check out Magoosh IELTS General Training here!

By the way, improve your IELTS score with Magoosh!

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8 Responses to Tips for writing letters in IELTS General Training

  1. bharat b jain December 19, 2017 at 12:09 am #

    Its a valuable article for beginners and i like it

  2. Khaled Radwan August 1, 2018 at 3:04 pm #

    Dear John,
    I hope that everything is going well with you and your family. Thanks buddy for accepting looking after my house during my vacation; I am really appreciating it.
    In case you want to reach me while I am abroad; you can either contact me by phone as I activated roaming service on my local number that you already have or you can drop me an email on my Gmail account – don’t use our company email.
    Please don’t forget to feed my dog once per day; dry food bags are in the kitchen, just behind the fridge. Also, keep the dog indoor at night; otherwise his barking will disturb my neighbours.
    Remember to water all the plants inside the house twice a week and make sure you closed the water sealant properly after finishing. The password for the house alarm system is 2424; don’t forget to activate it before leaving the house.
    See you soon.
    Take care,

    • David Recine
      David Recine August 11, 2018 at 1:54 pm #

      This is a pretty good IELTS letter, Khaled. I’d get rid of the very first sentence, though. It seems a little off-topic. And be sure to double check/proofread this letter for minor mistakes. 🙂

  3. Jai January 5, 2019 at 6:22 am #


    When we write task 1 or 2, should we leave a line in between 2 paragraphs ?

    second is it ok to start the new paragraph from the beginning of the line or is it ok to start from the middle of the line ?


    • David Recine
      David Recine January 8, 2019 at 9:55 am #

      For maximum readability, I definitely recommend leaving a line between each paragraph. And do start a new paragraph at the beginning of a new line. (Perhaps with a slight indent, but certainly not a beginning in the middle of the line.)

  4. muhammad hamza May 13, 2019 at 11:51 am #




    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert May 19, 2019 at 12:31 pm #

      Hi Muhammad!

      I’ve forwarded your message to someone on our support team. They should get back to you shortly.

  5. Mobeen Jawaid February 17, 2020 at 1:53 am #

    A friend has agreed to look after your house and pet while you are on holiday. Write a letter to your friend.
    In your letter
    give contact details for when you are away
    give instructions about how to care for your pet
    describe other household duties

    Dear Shahzad,
    Hope you are enjoying the life with family. Thanks for your kindness to accept maintaining my house and feeding of my parrot during my holiday trip to London. Please note that my trip to London will be more mobilized to different places but mostly I am staying in central London hotel York. For any routine or general information you can just send me voice message to my hotel number so I will check all the voice messages once back to hotel and reply you accordingly. For any emergency, you can watsapp me and I will assure you to reply your queries.
    My parrot use to of me and in my absence, he will be sad. I request you to please make a routine for 1 hr talk to my parrot and take care of his food. He like to eat green fresh chilli and you can find the fresh chilli’s backyard of my house.
    Moreover, Please pay electric bill in time or otherwise the corporation will cut the electricity and impose fine on me. You can find the copy of bill in the dashboard of my car.
    I will be back to home at the end of next month and hope that you will enjoy to stay in my hope with my parrot.

    Hope to see you soon.

    Best Regards


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