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IELTS Preparation Series 2, Episode 26: General Task Writing


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0:03

Hello. I'm Margot Politis. Welcome to Study English, IELTS preparation.

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Today we're going to talk about letter writing.

0:22

IELTS Task 1 in the General Training module asks you to write a letter. We write letters

0:30

to friends, strangers, businesses, government departments and institutions.

0:36

The tone of a letter can be formal or informal, depending on who is going to read it.

0:47

There are several purposes for writing letters:

0:51

giving or requesting information

0:55

giving instructions

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relating an event

1:00

giving good or bad news

1:04

complaining

1:06

describing

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Some letters can include several of these purposes at the same time.

1:13

Here are some examples.

1:14

Letters for giving information might include: travel plans

1:20

arrival details what to see and do on holidays.

1:25

Letters requesting information might be for: course information

1:31

library hours timetable information.

1:36

Some letters for giving instructions include: how to get to your house

1:41

how to operate a machine how to open an account.

1:46

And relating an event: a an incident or accident

1:51

a wedding or function or a holiday.

1:55

giving good or bad news cancelling an appointment

2:00

accepting a job offer informing of the birth of a baby.

2:05

Letters complaining might include: poor service in a restaurant

2:10

loud noise in your district or a problem with faulty goods.

2:15

And letters describing might be about: lost property

2:19

a friend or a place.

2:25

OK. That's an overview of different types of letter. Now let's consider the organisation

2:33

of the letter.

2:35

Letters have a clear and familiar structure. Formal letters begin with a greeting: Dear

2:42

___, and end with a closing: Yours sincerely.

2:47

In between the top and the bottom, is the body. But what sort of body? How do we decide

2:53

about the shape of the letter between the greeting and the closing?

2:59

Well, we write because we have a purpose. It is important to indicate at the beginning

3:04

of a letter what its purpose is.

3:07

Let's consider some examples.

3:10

If your letter is for giving information, you might start with: I am writing to advise

3:17

that

3:18

or for requesting information: I am writing to request information about

3:26

for giving instructions: I am writing to explain how to

3:32

relating an event: I am writing to describe the accident I saw

3:38

giving good or bad news: I am very happy to tell you that

3:44

complaining: I am writing to complain about

3:49

describing: I am writing to describe some lost property

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It's easier for the reader of the letter if it's organised coherently.

4:00

In Task 1, the way the IELTS General Training question is laid out will help you in organising

4:07

your response or answer.

4:10

For example, look at the following question - a typical question for Task 1:

4:17

You have to sit IELTS and you would like to do a preparation program to help you prepare

4:22

for the test. Write a letter to the Course Information Officer at a college that offers

4:29

IELTS preparation courses requesting information:

4:34

how long the course is how much the course costs and

4:38

course pre-requisites

4:41

You should write at least 150 words.

4:47

The way the question is constructed tells you how to organise your letter. There are

4:53

3 bullet points:

4:55

how long the course is how much the course costs and

4:59

course pre-requisites

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This tells you that you should construct 3 body paragraphs, one for each bullet point.

5:08

Thus your letter should look something like this.

5:12

First a greeting:

5:13

Dear Sir or Madam,

5:18

Then an introduction stating a purpose:

5:21

I am writing because

5:24

Then the body:

5:25

1.how long the course is 2.how much the course costs

5:31

3.course pre-requisites

5:36

And then finally, the closing:

5:38

Yours sincerely,

5:40

So when writing your IELTS letter, it's a matter of being logical and organising your

5:49

ideas.

5:50

Let's look at another question and decide how to tackle it.

5:55

You recently went to a conference in another city and stayed in a hotel. When you returned

6:01

home you discovered that you had left your briefcase in the hotel.

6:07

Write a letter to the manager of the hotel, explaining the problem:

6:12

explain where you left your briefcase describe the briefcase

6:17

advise how to inform you, and where to send it, if found

6:22

You should write at least 150 words.

6:28

If we follow the same strategy as last time, our letter organisation will look something

6:34

like this.

6:35

First a greeting: Dear Sir or Madam,

6:40

Then an introduction stating a purpose:

6:43

I am writing because

6:45

Then the body:

6:47

1.explain where you left your briefcase 2.describe the briefcase

6:54

3.advise how to inform you, and where to send it, if found

7:01

And then finish with the closing:

7:03

Yours sincerely,

7:10

The last thing to discuss about the letters you'll be writing is the level of formality.

7:16

The two IELTS letters we looked at should be formal.

7:20

There will be times when you will have to compose a less formal letter, with different

7:25

language choices.

7:27

Here are some examples:

7:29

more formal: I am writing to enquire about the cost of your IELTS Preparation Program.

7:38

less formal: I am writing to ask about the cost of your IELTS Preparation Program.

7:46

more formal: This is due to the fact that teaching costs have increased.

7:54

less formal: This is because teaching costs have increased.

8:01

more formal: If you require further information less formal: If you need more information

8:12

more formal: Please find enclosed less formal: Here are

8:20

more formal: We have been forced to increase fees.

8:26

less formal: We've had to increase fees.

8:31

more formal: I regret to advise you. less formal: I'm sorry to tell you.

8:40

more formal: I will not be able to attend. less formal: I cannot come.

8:49

Well, you should now be able to practise letter writing. Remember, each letter you write will

8:55

have a different purpose, and a clear purpose statement will convey your intent to the reader.

9:02

Organise the letter into several short paragraphs, and choose the tone carefully. Should it be

9:08

more or less formal?

9:12

To find more information and tips, don't forget to visit our website. It's abcasiapacific.com/studyenglish.

9:22

You'll find all the stories, transcripts, study notes, exercises and quizzes for the

9:27

series.

9:29

That's all for now. I hope to see you again for another episode of Study English. Bye

9:34

bye.

#II22Ieltsprepseries2

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