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IELTS Letter Writing - Useful Words & Expressions

Apologizing
I'm sorry about...
I am sorry that...
I'm very sorry about...
I'm very sorry for...
Please forgive me for...
I'd like to apologize for...
Please accept my apologies.
Please accept my sincere apologies. (very formal)
Asking for Help
I'd be grateful if you could...
I would be grateful if you could...
I would appreciate it if you could...
Could you please...
I was wondering of you could help me.(informal)
I would like to know...
Asking for Information
I am writing to enquire about...
I am writing to find out about...
What I am looking for is...
I would like to know about/if...
Closing
I look forward to seeing you.
I look forward to hearing from you.
I look forward to meeting you.
Complaining / expressing dissatisfaction
I'm writing to express my dissatisfaction with...
I'm writing to express my annoyance with...
I am not happy about...
...was very disappointing.
Conveying regards
please give my best regards to your family.
Please pass on my best wishes to your wife and
children.
Please give my regards to your parents.
Expressing satisfaction
I was delighted to hear that...
I was very happy to learn that...
I was thrilled to find out that...
I was glad to hear that...
...was very enjoyable.

Expressing concern / sympathy


I was sorry to hear about... (your accident/ illness)
I am writing to express my concern about...
Giving bad news
I regret to inform you that...(semi-formal)
I am sorry to tell you that...(informal)
I regret to advise you that...(formal)
I am afraid I have some bad news.(informal)
Giving good news
I am pleased to inform you that...(semi-formal)
I am delighted to tell you that...(informal)
I am happy to advise you that...(formal)
I thought you might like to know that...
Giving reasons
This is because...
This is because of...
This is due to... (formal)
This is as a result of...(formal)
This is owing to...(formal)
Making suggestions
Would it be a good idea to...
Perhaps it would be a good idea to...
Thanking
Thanks.
Thank you.
Thank you very much.
Thank you kindly.
I can't thank you enough.
No words can express my gratitude.
I am extremely grateful for..
I very much appreciate your ______ing

IELTS Letter Writing Tips - 10 Ways to Get Higher Marks on the IELTS Letter Writing Task

1. Identify the type of letter you are being asked to write. Is it a formal, semi-formal or informal letter? The
entire tone of your letter is based on your answer to this question. Adjust your style and choice of words
according to the type of letter you have been asked to write.
2. Open and close the letter correctly.Remember that each type of letter requires a different opening and
closing. The chart below will help you remember this:
Style

Characteristics

Opening

Ending

Formal

To someone you have not met,


whose name you don't know

Dear Sir / Madam

Yours faithfully

Semi-formal

To someone you may or may not


have met, whose last name you
know & use

Dear Mr Brown,
Dear Ms Stone

Yours sincerely

Informal

To someone you know well, whose


first name you know and use

Dear John
Dear Anita

Best regards
Warm wishes

3. Open a formal and semi-formal letter with a formal sentence. Don't try to be friendly, as you do not know
the person you are writing to. Get right down to business and indicate the reason you are writing, as shown
below:
Dear Sir / Madam,
I am writing to inquire about / I am writing in connection with...
Dear Mr Jones,
I am writing to inform you ... / I am writing in connection with...
4. Open an informal letter with a general, friendly paragraph. With friends whom we know, we care about
the whole person. We have a broader relationship in the context of which this communication is taking place. So
it is best to acknowledge that friendship first, before getting down to the reason for your letter. In fact, the first
paragraph could be purely friendly small talk, unrelated to the reason for your writing. Look at the example
below:
Dear Jane
I hope you and your family are all well. It was such a pleasure to see you again last summer. We sure had a
great time catching up with each other after so many years. You have always been a cherished friend, no matter
how much of a gap there has been since we met.
Anyway, the reason I'm writing is that I have some good news - I am getting married this summer...
5. Identify the main purpose of the letter. Are you asking for help, apologizing, inviting someone,
complaining or thanking someone? Learn appropriate and polite expressions that will support what you need to
say.
6. Learn and use standard written phrases. Students sometimes struggle to finish their writing in time. This
happens when you are trying to write every sentence from scratch. The fact is, in conventional letter writing in
English, we use a number of standard expressions and phrases and add on to them the specific information we

wish to communicate. By learning how to use these expressions, you will find the letter writing task much
easier and will never have to fight for time.
7. Make sure you write at least 150 words. Practice writing letters till you know what 150 words feels like
and looks like. You will lose marks if you write less. You will not lose marks if you write more; the only
restriction on writing more is in terms of time, not the number of words.
8. Learn the correct spelling of commonly used words. It is surprising how many IELTS students make a
mistake when spelling words such as "sincerely", "faithfully", "in connection with" and so on. You can prevent
yourself from losing marks by learning the correct spelling of these words and expressions which you are highly
likely to use on your exam.
9. Stay on topic. In order to complete your letter within 20 minutes or less, practice writing letters where you
stick to the point. The General IELTS Task 1 does require you to make up a bit of a story to complete your
letter, but don't make your story so complicated that you run out of time.
10. Include all three bulleted points. If you exclude even one of the points given to you in the question
prompt, you will lose valuable marks. Practice writing letters that include the three points and go back and
check that you have included them in each practice exercise you do.

IELTS Writing - Key Words & Expressions 2

By learning to use common phrases and set expressions, you can add variety and interest to your writing. You
will also be able to write more quickly and effectively during exams, when time is limited.
Of course, you won't need to use all of the expressions on the IELTS. Ideally, you should be comfortable
using at least three or four expressions from each group below, so they come to mind easily during the IELTS. It
is also helpful to have someone call them out so you can test your spelling. Unfortunately, students sometimes
make spelling errors even in these commonly occurring expressions. Practice sufficiently so you don't lose
points unnecessarily on something that's within your control.
Stating Your Opinion

Giving Examples

In my opinion,

According to me,

In my view,

To me,

From my point of view,

I think

It seems to me that
For example,
From my perspective
such as
It appears that
as
I realize
that is
I imagine
To illustrate

I believe
For instance,
To my way of thinking
In other words,
I suppose
like
I understand
namely
I feel
To paraphrase

C
omparing

Contrasting

Similar to

As...as

in common

also

Either...or
However,

In the same way,


But

Neither...nor
On the contrary,

At the same
Ontime
the other hand,

Just asDiffer from

resemble Nevertheless

Although

Though

Otherwise

Instead

Alternatively,

Even though

Generalizing
Generally,

Generally speaking,

Overall,

On the whole,

In general,

By and large,

It seems to me that

I believe

All in all,

Basically,

Essentially,

As a rule,

All things considered

For the most part

Expressing Certainty
Certainly,
Doubtless,
Definitely,
First,
Second,
Third,
Firstly,
Secondly,
Thirdly,
During
To begin with
Simultaneously
Since
Afterwards
When
Adding Information
Furthermore
Also
Moreover
Likewise
Besides
Even
Expressing Partial Agreement

Undoubtedly,
No doubt,
Marking time
Of course,
Last
Lastly,
Then,
First of all,
Before
After
While
At the same time
After this / that
Meanwhile
Following this
As soon as
In addition
And
Similarly
As well as
Too
Whats more

More or less,

To some extent,

Up to a point,

Almost,

In a way,

So to speak,

Showing cause
Due to

Because

Because of

Owing to

Showing effect
Therefore,

As a result,

Consequently,

For this reason,

Thus,

So,

thereby

Eventually,

Hence,

The reason why

Expressing condition
If

Concluding
Whether

In case
To summarize
Provided that
Lastly,
To conclude with,

Unless
In conclusion
So that
Finally,
In short,