General IELTS Task 1 Letters

On this page you will find model answers to IELTS task 1 letter questions. There is at least one example of each style (formal, semi-formal and informal), and a selection of letter types (they are not all here yet but more are coming soon). After each letter there are some questions to help you think about why the letter is a band 8/9, and the answers to those questions. Please try to answer the questions on your own first BEFORE you look at the answers.

Your company sent you on a training course in another country and at the end of the training you got a certificate which you have lost. Write a letter to the course organiser and tell him/her:
  • How you lost your certificate.
  • Why you need the certificate now.
  • What you need him/her to do for you.
Write at least 150 words.
Dear Mrs Hill,
Last week I participated in your course in London on Advanced Managerial Techniques. Unfortunately, the certificate which I received on completion of the course was lost, and so I was wondering if I would be able to get a copy of it.
After the course finished on Friday, I had to leave quickly to catch my flight back to Stockholm. I had put my certificate into my briefcase along with my course notes, but when I arrived in Sweden, I realised that I no longer had my briefcase. I suspect that it was accidently taken by a fellow passenger on the plane, but when I called the airline there was no report of a briefcase having been handed in.
The reason this is so important is that my line manager has asked for a copy of the certificate to add to my employee file, and more importantly to include in the paperwork to the accounts office to justify the expense of my training.
I realise that this is an inconvenience for you, but I was wondering if you could send me a copy of this certificate to my work address. It is rather urgent, so would you mind using a courier service like UPS? I will of course reimburse you for the expense.

Thank you in advance for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you.
Yours sincerely,
Joe Bloggs

Questions.

  1. Can you find where in the letter ALL the bullet points in the question are answered?
  2. This is a formal letter. Why? Find language which makes this formal.
  3. A range of grammar is important for a good grammar score. What different grammar structures can you find?​

Answers:

  1. ​The first bullet point is answered in paragraph 2, the second in paragraph 3 and the third in paragraphs 1 and 4.
  2. It is formal because you are writing to someone you do know very well and you are asking them to do something for you. It is also quite inconvenient for them so you need your language to be very polite and formal. Examples of this are: 'I was wondering if I would be able to ...', '..there was no report of a briefcase being handed in.' 'I was wondering if you could...', '...would you mind using...'.
  3. You should be able to find, past simple, passives, polite request language (I was wondering if ...), past perfect, complex sentences (e.g. After the course finished on Friday, ...), fronting (The reason this is so important is that...), modals (would, could), 'will'. Did you find more?