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Recognising the type of letter and writing in consistent tone – formal vs informal

 Formal vs Informal letters

NOTE: This topic is for IELTS General Training test ONLY. If you are taking the IELTS Academic Training test then skip this post.


Use the following in INFORMAL letters

  • Beginning: Dear + first name
  • Friendly greeting: I hope you are in the pink of health
  • Contractions: I'm, didn't, couldn't, don't, you've etc.
  • Questions: Do you remember ...? Why don't you ...?
  • Exclamation: I can't wait to see you!
  • Connectors: Well, anyway, so, and
  • Phrases: had a great time, couldn't have asked for more, working flat out, back to normal
  • Ending: hope to see you soon + first name


Use the following in FORMAL letters

  • Beginning: Dear Sir or Madam
  • No greeting necessary
  • Do not use contractions: I am instead of I'm, could not instead of couldn't
  • Avoid direct questions: "I would like ..." instead of "Can I have ...?"
  • No exclamation marks (!)
  • Connectors: Consequently, However, although, also, and
  • Phrases and vocabulary: with regard to, failed to, he assured me, I reported the issue, contacted, under warranty
  • Ending: I await your prompt response, Yours faithfully + full name


In today's IELTS playlist, you will learn how to recognise the type of letter and write in a consistent tone.

Click on the playlist below to start learning NOW!


As always, if you have any questions about this topic, ask them in the comments below or contact us on hello@ieltsonlinepractice.com.


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Best of luck.



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