Task one of the IELTS writing exam includes different types of letters. The most common ones are to write to ask for information, respond to a request for information, to make a complaint, to thank someone or to make an apology. The usual subject areas are related to finding accommodation, difficulties with accommodation, making travel arrangements, planning holidays, thanking friends or relatives for holidays, and responding to requests for social events.
The other factor to take note of in this section is whether it is a semi-formal letter to someone you know or a more formal letter to someone you don’t know. This influences the tone or attitude. If you are writing to a friend or someone who is known to you, you might choose to use a more friendly tone, whereas this should be avoided if you are writing to a stranger.
Formality of letters
Certain styles are required for certain occasions. When deciding what style of letter to write, consider the audience and the purpose. Turning first to the audience in the exam you will have to write a letter to a business, acquaintance, or friend or family member.
The body of a letter written to a business or a person you don’t know well is written in formal language, unlike the more casual and friendly language of a letter to a friend or family member.
These letters are to acquaintances, friends or family and so the tone should be friendlier than with a letter to a business. An appropriate tone is an important element of task achievement.
I suggest you do not write this type of letter in the IELTS exam. These are letters written to very close friends and have features such as slang and abbreviations of words. You should NEVER use overly informal language or texting language such as wanna, cos, and LOL. Using the right tone influences the TASK score for your letter.
The reason why I suggest you do not write this way is because it may lower your score for task achievement as it is easy for the tone to be inappropriate. In addition, it may decrease your score for vocabulary because many features of informal writing use unsophisticated language. It’s always better to be too formal than not formal enough!
Purposes of letters
It’s very important than when you get your task you work out the purpose of the letter you need to write. You need to focus on this purpose throughout the letter in order to score well for task achievement. You can make the purpose of the letter clear by stating it in the introduction. For the IELTS exam you need to be able to write the following types of letters:
This type of letter requires you to write a letter to ask for information from a business or acquaintance.
This type of letter requires you to write a letter to respond to a request for information.
Making a complaint
This type of letter requires you to write a letter to complain about a product or situation.
Making an apology
This type of letter requires you to write a letter to apologise for making a mistake or disturbing someone.
This type of letter requires you to write a letter to thank someone for his or her thoughtfulness or kindness.
See lots of samples of model letters I have written