How to write an IELTS task 1 informal letter….

informal letter pin.png

Hello, time for a new vid/post, this time about how to write an informal letter, following on from the formal letter a week or so ago…so, check out the video at the bottom of the post, and the text and examples are right here…

How to write an informal IELTS letter task 1

You will be given instructions (write 150 words/no need to write an address/how to begin your letter) and three points to write about, as I mentioned in my previous vid/post this means that this general task is much easier that the academic one. These points tell you exactly what to say and will structure your letter. It might say something like

You recently got a new job abroad

Write a letter to a friend. In your letter

  • explain why you left your old job
  • why you moved abroad for work
  • describe your new job

So, you would go through these points in order with details and examples, relatively straightforward.

Your first job though is to identify if this is a formal or informal letter. In my previous lesson I showed how to do that and you can find it here. But obviously if it says “Write to a friend” then you already know the answer. As I also mentioned in my previous lesson, we have to consider audience and also purpose when writing anything. That is to say, who you are writing to and hence how formal or informal, also why you are writing, what is the purpose of the letter. The instructions will give you an idea as to this, but in general terms for informal letters, you might be asked to

  • apologise to someone
  • make a request
  • invite someone or reply to an invitation
  • inform someone of some news


let’s have a look at a structure we might use then…as I mentioned in my earlier lesson, we can use this for every letter as it is essentially the same.

Greeting: Dear (name of your friend)

Paragraph 1: reason for writing (I am just writing to let you know…..etc)

Paragraph 2: point 1 and supporting details

Paragraph 3: point 2 and supporting details

Paragraph 4: point 3 and supporting details

Closing: (Hope to see you soon….etc)

Sign off: (best wishes/ all the best, etc…)

Your first name…..

Pretty simple, and I have put some examples below to illustrate this. One more point, to do with grammar and vocabulary, as I mentioned in the previous lesson for informal letters we can use contractions (I’ve, Don’t, Can’t, Won’t, etc). However, do not use text speak abbreviations (luv, bcuz, bro) or acronyms (IMO, WTF, LOL, or whatever).

Example 1..making a request

You have just come back from a week at a friends house and realised you left your passport there.

Write a letter to your friend. In your letter:

  • thank your friend for the holiday
  • explain your problem with the passport
  • ask them to send it back to you

Dear Ken,

good to see you this past week, it’s been too long.

It was great to spend that week at your place, seeing all the old sites and pubs we used to go to, makes me wish I could go back to the old times.

The reason I am writing now, and I am sorry to bother you so soon but I just got back and I can’t find my passport, I know I had it in my backpack inner pocket but now I come to look for it and I can’t find it anywhere. The only thing I can think of is it must have have dropped out at your place.

I put my pack in the closet next to the bed in the spare room, and I was hoping if you look there you will find it.

If you do, and I really hope you do, can you do me a favour and post it back to me? If you send it by registered mail I will pay for it, I really need it as soon as possible.

Thanks for taking the time to look, sorry again for the bother.

My best wishes always


198 words

Example 2: giving advice

A friend has written to you asking for advice about leaving his job to teach abroad. You had a similar experience in the past.

Write a letter to your friend. In your letter:

  • tell your friend you understand his problem
  • explain how you made your decision
  • suggest possible options for consideration

Dear Dave

good to hear from you again after such a long time.

Thanks for reaching out to me over your problem, I hope I can offer some useful suggestions and advice.

I understand your dilemma, seriously I do. When I quit my job all those years ago to go to uni, then to teach abroad I had to think long and hard about the consequences.

Let me tell you how I made my decision, actually it was easy, I asked myself, was I happy, and the answer was no. That was it, I thought about money of course, and other practical things, but the fact was that job wasn’t making me happy so I quit.

So, this is what I think you should do, make a list of the pros and cons of your current job, and if the cons outweigh the pros, then that’s your answer. You can take a training course in the UK or abroad, and live your dreams, it’s up to you.

Sorry if that’s a bit short, but that’s all you need to think about. If you are not happy, go do something that will make you happy. It really is that simple.

Let me know what you decide.

Best wishes for the future


211 words

Ok, there you go…these examples are a little long but as long as you can finish in 20 mins that’s all that matters. I hope this will give you some ideas as to structure, etc, and you can refer to my other lesson as mentioned above to see the differences.

Any questions, feel free to write to me as before at