General Writing Sample Task 1 #72


General Training Writing Task 1 should be written in the style appropriate to the task: if it is a letter to a friend, it should be written in a friendly, informal style; if it is a letter to a company or institution, it should be written in a formal style.

The following are the basic features of formal style:

  • All verbs forms must be written in full: do not write contractions such as can't, don't, etc.
  • Do not use abbreviations such as info for information or ads for advertisements.
  • Avoid using the active voice and the first person singular; in a formal letter you should write: ‘A copy of the receipt will be forwarded to you as soon as possible’ instead of ‘I will send you a copy of the receipt ASAP.’
  • Avoid using informal intensifiers such as really, so, absolutely; use extremely, highly, entirely, fully instead.
  • Avoid using phrasal verbs which tend to be used in informal writing and conversation; for example, use seek a job instead of look for a job; most phrasal verbs are idiomatic in nature, that is, their meaning cannot usually be inferred from their individual parts.
  • Avoid using informal discourse markers and link words such as besides or by the way and use incidentally instead.
  • Do not use set phrases and idioms, for example, ‘I am not going to pay you a penny’ instead of ‘Your fee will not be paid.’
  • Avoid ellipsis (leaving out words), for example, leaving out the subject I in ‘Hope to hear from you soon.’

You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

Last Wednesday you flew from London to Vancouver. When you arrived home, you discovered that you had left your hand luggage on the plane.

Write a letter to the airline. In your letter, you should explain:

  • where and when you lost your bag
  • what your bag looks like
  • what its contents were

Write at least 150 words.

You do NOT need to write any addresses.

Sample Band 9 answer

Dear Sir or Madam,

I would like to report lost property. It seems that I left my hand luggage on one of your flights. Last Wednesday, November 22nd, I flew from London to Vancouver on LB118 and took my hand luggage with me. I put it in the overhead bin. Unfortunately, after the long flight, I must have forgotten it on the plane.

It's a blue hand luggage on wheels. It has one outside pockets and is locked with a small lock. I had all of my school work and books in it. I also had a new jacket in it. I had just received it as a gift from my grandmother in London.

As you can imagine, these items are very important to me. Please let me know if you have my hand luggage and how I can get it back. Write to me at my return address or email: ana(at)

I'm looking forward to your reply.

Many thanks,

Ana Feldman

(162 words)

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