IELTS letter writing vocabulary includes some very specific words and phrases that you probably won’t use in any other part of the exam. This is the place to learn them.
This lesson covers:
First, we’ll look at all these points for informal letters and then do the same things for formal letters.
Always start your letter with ‘Dear...’ followed by the first name of the friend, e.g.
You probably use ‘Hi...’ and ‘Hello...’ in emails and texts but for letters, ‘Dear...’ is more appropriate, so stick with this.
It can be helpful to use the name of a real friend who you imagine you are writing the letter to. This will make it easier to sound natural than if you write the letter to an imaginary friend.
Contractions are the easiest way to show the examiner that you know you are writing an informal letter, e.g.
I’m, I’ve, you’ll, we'd, they're
Our text language is full of these, for example,
‘Tues’ for Tuesday or ‘Sept’ for September (abbreviations)
‘Thx’ for Thanks or ‘Lol’ meaning ‘laugh out loud’ (acronyms)
They have no place in a letter and you will lose marks by using them.
Your General Writing Task 1 question will be on one of these 7 topics. The topics highlighted in red are the ones you are most likely to get for an informal letter.
We’ll now look at appropriate IELTS letter writing vocabulary for these 5 common types of question.
Make an invitation:
Accept or decline an invitation:
Here’s some more IELTS letter writing vocabulary that you can use in an informal letter.
You must sign off your letter correctly. Use one of these phrases followed by your first name.
All the best,
You would never add your surname when writing to a friend.
Now we’ll look at formal letters.
Contractions are informal language and should not be used in a formal letter.
‘I am writing to complain...’ not ‘I’m writing to complain...’
‘I would like to apply for...’ not ‘I’d like to apply for...’
This is the same rule as for informal letters. Save abbreviations and acronyms for texting and social media.
Here are the 7 letter topics again. The ones highlighted in red are the ones you are most likely to get for a formal letter.
We’ll now look at appropriate IELTS letter writing vocabulary for these 5 common types of question. All these phrases use formal language.
Here’s some more IELTS letter writing vocabulary that you can use in a formal letter.
You must use a suitable phrase to end your letter. One of these examples will be appropriate for most letters.
There are three ways you can sign off your letter:
Follow these rules when deciding which to use:
‘Kind regards’ is formal but friendly and is also appropriate for most situations. It is particularly useful if you struggle to remember how to spell ‘sincerely’ and ‘faithfully’.
Always sign off a formal letter with your full name, e.g.
using this IELTS letter writing vocabulary on past exam questions and it will
soon become familiar.
Additionally, there are sample letters in the lessons on the 7 different types of letter. You’ll find these lessons in the menu below.
Want to watch and listen to this lesson on IELTS letter writing vocabulary?
Click on this video.
IELTS General Writing – A summary of the test including important facts, test format & assessment.
Format – The format, the 7 topics, letter
structure, formal & informal, assessment & marking criteria, sample
questions. Essential information you need to know.
Letter Writing Tips – Learn top tips on how to meet the assessment and marking criteria and achieve a high score.
Letter Writing Structure – Find out how to use this easy to learn letter structure to write a high-scoring letter. Includes a model answer.
How To Plan a Letter – Learn a simple 5 step process & 6 part letter structure. Also, help to understand the question & generate ideas.
Formal or Informal – How to decide what type of
letter to write. Sample questions & 2 model letters.
Letter Writing Vocabulary – Learn useful phrases to help you achieve a high score. Also, know how to start & end your letter.
How To Write an Informal Letter – Step-by-step instructions, simple 4 step plan & 6 part letter structure, model letter.
How To Write a Formal Letter – Step-by-step instructions, simple 4 step plan & 6 part letter structure, model letter.
Letter Topics – Learn the 7 most common letter topics & other popular subjects. Includes 20 sample questions.