A Simple Guide to IELTS Letter Writing That Can Get You a High Band Score

In ielts letter writing, there are differences between formal and informal letter writing

Formal letterInformal letter
Non use of contractions

(Do not), (Should not), (Would not)

Use of contractions

(Didn’t), (Shouldn’t), (Wouldn’t)

Non use of idioms

(Responsible for something), (Achieve two aims at once)

Use of idioms

(Takes two to tango), (Kill two birds with one stone)

Non use of phrasal verbs

(Remove), (Disregard)

Use of phrasal verbs

(Take off), (Look down on)

Non use of imperatives

(You may check it if you are not busy)

Use of imperatives

(Check it now)

FurthermoreOn top of that
Use of latin based wordsNon use of latin based words


In ielts letter writing, there are reasons for writing a letter

For a formal letter, it could be

  1. For job application

I am writing in response to your advertisement on the Daily Newspaper published on 26th July, 2020 for the position of a Manager in your company, RichMond Company Limited.

  1. For inquiries

I am writing to inquire about your company’s product and services

I am writing to inquire about the prices of photo shoot in your company

I am writing to inquire about the deadline for the job application

  1. For a complaint

I am writing to bring to your notice the issue am having with my ATM card.

For an informal letter

  1. For an apology

I am writing to apologize…

  1. A thank you letter

I am writing to thank you for the birthday gift…

Expectations in ielts letter writing

  1. You are expected to complete the letter in 20 minutes
  2. You are expected to write at least 150 words
  3. Your letter should be written in response to the question: it could be a formal, informal or semi formal letter


Scoring Ielts letter writing

  1. Task achievement: This is all about meeting your objective of writing, your key features
  2. Coherence and cohesion: This is about organizing your letter to make it more comprehensive
  3. Lexical structure: Use vocabulary, correct spellings, and language in your letter to boost the quality of your letter
  4. Grammatical range and accuracy: Note your punctuations and grammar

Formal ielts letter writing Guide

  1. Read and understand the question, then identify
  • The background information
  • Instructional words
  • Accompanying details
  1. Plan your outline
  • Greeting
  • Identify your reason for writing
  • Paragraph 1
  • Paragraph 2
  • Paragraph 3
  • Closing sentence
  • Sign off
  1. Note your tone of writing
  • Lexical structure- No contractions
  • Voice – your voice should be formal
  • Phrasal verbs- I would like to request your attention
  • Common greeting- Dear Sir/Ma
  • Signing off- Yours faithfully
  1. Start writing

Example of formal letter writing in ielts

Yesterday, you lost your hand bag while traveling for holiday. Luckily, you have travel insurance.

  1. Letter of complaint

Write a letter to the Manager of your insurance company. In your letter:

  • Describe your bag and the things you lost in it
  • Explain how you lost it
  • Tell the insurance company what you need from them

Write at least 150 words.

Considering the outline for formal letter writing in ielts

  1. Greeting
  • Dear Sir/Ma

2. Reason for writing

  • I am writing to … lost bag

3. Paragraph 1: Say the reason you are writing

  • The bag is… (Give a description of the bag)

4. Paragraph 2: Say the reason for the lost

  • The airline must have misplaced the bag in another flight

5. Paragraph 3: Say what you need from them

  • I took out insurance and would appreciate it if…

6. Closing sentence: Leave a contact if they would want to reach you

  • Please let me know…

7. Farewell + Name

  • Yours faithfully,


Dear Sir/Ma

I am writing to file an insurance claim for my bag that was lost during the holiday yesterday.

The bag is a red, big sized traveling bag. I had in it my charger, perfume, identification cards and some amount of money. I have just used it first in this holiday, so it should be in good condition. Unfortunately, it does not have tag insurance with my contact details.

While I am not completely sure how the bag was lost, I imagine that the airline might have placed it on a different flight. In fact, I have been in contact with the airline and they are almost certain that this is the most probable scenario.

I took travel insurance with your company before I left, and according to the information in the contract, a lost bag can be covered. Here, attached is the insurance claim and I would appreciate it if your company could review the approximated value of the bag and process the attached claim as soon as possible.

Please let me know if I can be of help to provide any other information

Yours faithfully,


Adarson Peters

  1. Letter of inquiry

You intend to purchase a laptop and a printer at Slot shopping mall in Imo State for your company use. The mall specializes in selling laptops, printers and phones of different models and prices. Write a letter of inquiry addressed to the Manager in charge of the mall seeking clarification about the prices, models, and other necessary details for purchasing the laptop and printer of your choice.


Dear Sir/Ma

I am John the Manager of RichMond Institute, in Owerri, Imo State. I am writing to inquire about your products and services at Slot shopping mall, Owerri in other to make the right decision in purchasing a good laptop and printer of my choice.

I came to know that your mall is the best I can reach and so I am keen to make a purchase. I am interested in purchasing a HP Laptop and a printer to go with it. I want the latest model of it. The last one I bought from a different company did not give me the satisfaction I needed and I hope your own will not be a disappointment.

Kindly give me the following details regarding it

  1. Details of the Laptop and printer
  2. The prices
  3. Purchasing details
  4. Mode of payment
  5. Other necessary details

I suggest you reply at earliest so that I can take a decision

Yours sincerely



  1. A job application letter

You are a job applicant, and you came across a job advert on an online website concerning a company that is looking for an employee to fill up the job position of a front desk officer.

Write to the company and explain

  1. Your reason for writing
  2. Where you got the information
  3. Why you are a fit for that position


Dear Sir,

I am very excited to apply for the position of a Front Desk at your Company that was advertised at the online site- hotnigerianjobs.com. I am very interested in the job. I have the necessary academic background to be a competent contributor to your great team. Moreover working in your company directly complements my career, professional skills and academic background. My prior experience, degree, and sheer enthusiasm lead me to believe that I would be an asset to your team.


I have been working at my present company, keeping detailed records.

My experience in my previous jobs has given me the knowledge and skills necessary for a full time front desk position which makes me an excellent fit for this position. Furthermore, I understand the intricacies of documentation. I am well focused at my work, with full knowledge of how important it is to the overall records keeping.

I look forward to your humble response.

Kindly review my CV for further details.

Yours faithfully,




Example of informal letter writing in ielts

Your sister celebrated her 25th Silver Jubilee, but you could not attend and forgot to cancel.

Write a letter to your sister, in your letter:

  1. Apologize for missing the silver jubilee celebration
  2. Explain why you missed it and why you had not let her know
  3. Describe how you will make it up to her

Write at least 150 words.

Considering the outline for informal letter writing in ielts

  1. Greeting

-Dear Sir/Madam

Heartfelt opening + Reason for writing

-I hope your celebration was a great one… Congratulations

  1. Paragraph 1

-I’m so sorry….it’s been ages

  1. Paragraph 2

-I have been busy with my wedding preparations… running around

  1. Paragraph 3

-Get a gift

  1. Closing Sentence

-I hope I can get you a gift

  1. Farewell +Name

-Catch you later


Dear Ann

Congratulations! I hope all is well with you and your family and you had a grand 25th Silver Jubilee celebration.

I’m writing to apologize for not being able to come at your party to celebrate with you. It’s been such a long time since we’ve been able to catch up and see each other.

Honestly speaking, I have been so engaged with my wedding preparations. I often travel interstates to purchase some of the things I need and also to complete some expectations. It’s been fixed at an earliest date to your party. I was so busy that I had completely forgotten about your Silver Jubilee celebration, and it didn’t occur to me to call you and cancel.

Despite my busy schedule, I should have still found time to attend your 25th Silver Jubilee celebration. Though I will make it up to you. I have got you an expensive 32inch TV set for your relaxation.

I hope we can celebrate together on your 50th Golden Jubilee

Catch you later


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