IELTS Vocabulary: Writing a letter
Below, you will see eleven common situations that people encounter when they are writing a formal letter.
1) You are writing a letter to the headteacher of a school or college, but you don't know their name. How do you begin your letter?
2) You have received a letter from the manager of a company which buys computer components from your company, and you are now replying. What do you say?
3) You recently stayed in a hotel and were very unhappy with the service you received. You are now writing to the manager. What do you say?
4) You have sent a letter of application to a college, together with your curriculum vitae which the college requested. What do you say in the letter to explain that your curriculum vitae is attached?
5) You have applied for a job, but you would like the company to send you more information. What do you say?
6) In a letter you have written to a company, you tell them that you expect them to reply. What do you say?
7) In a letter you have written, you want the recipient to do something and are thanking them in advance of their action. What do you say?
8) The company you work for has received an order from another company and you are writing to them to acknowledge the order and let them know when you can deliver. What do you say?
9) In a letter, you explain that the recipient can contact you if they want more information. What do you say?
10) You began a letter with the recipient's name (e.g., Dear Mr. Perrin). How do you end the letter?
11) You did not begin the letter with the recipient's name (see number 1 above). How do you end the letter?
Look at these sentences and decide if they are True or False.
1Formal letters are always longer than informal letters.
2In a formal letter it is acceptable to use colloquial English, slang and idioms.
3In a formal letter it is acceptable to use contractions (e.g., I've instead of I have).
4In a formal letter you should include your name and address at the top of the page.
5In a formal letter, you should always write the date in full (e.g., 1 April 2000 and not 1/4/00).
6In a formal letter, you should always put your full name (e.g., James Harcourt and not J. Harcourt) after your signature at the bottom of the letter.
7Formal letters do not need to be broken into paragraphs. It is acceptable to write them as one continuous paragraph.