Aubrey Carter
"3 Keys IELTS Certified Coach"
Jessica Beck
"Director of IELTS Training"

Tone is such a huge part of your Task 1 score.

Today we’ll tackle a very difficult semiformal question.

We’ll also clarify the tone needed for the 3 different types of general Task 1 questions.

You need to be ready for anything you see on the IELTS exam!

For more strategies, sign up for our study program at 3 Keys IELTS!

3 Keys IELTS offers both General and Academic study programs

When you sign up for our study system, you can choose general or academic.

Task 1 is very different on these two different exams.

Today we’ll focus on Task 1 for the general training exam.

What are the different types of Task 1 letters?

#1: Formal

These are to someone you don’t know.

  • Inquiring about a job interview
  • A complaint to a business
  • Writing about a product you need to return

#2: Informal

These letters are to a friend.

  • Writing about a trip you will take together
  • Asking them to do something for you
  • Planning an event together

#3: Semiformal

These letters are to someone you know, but who is not a close friend.

  • Inquiring about a job to someone you know personally
  • Planning an event with an acquaintance
  • Writing to a coworker you know personally

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What should be different when writing these letters?

Formal letters should have more formal vocabulary and phrases.

Informal letters should have less formal vocabulary and slang phrases, as you are writing to a friend.

Semiformal letters will still have formal vocabulary, but you will share a few personal details as well.

What is an example of a semiformal question?

A student wrote in asking about a Task 1 essay question.

Your friend has a travel company and would like you to come and work with him. Write a letter responding to your friend’s offer. In your letter:

  • Explain what you know about your friend’s company.
  • Choose whether you accept or decline the offer.
  • Give reasons for your choice.

This question is semiformal because you are writing to a friend, but about a job offer.

How do you write a semiformal letter?

  • Each bullet point should be a paragraph.

Open in a very positive way.

  • I couldn’t have been happier to get your email yesterday.
  • I’m extremely grateful you would think of me this way.

Answer every bullet point!

You always need to be specific.

Write about your own experiences and repackage it to fit the topic and bullet points.

I regret to inform you that I can’t accept your generous offer. As you know, we’re expanding our family and are expecting a new baby.

  • Let’s touch base again soon.
  • I’ll see you at the baby shower next weekend!

These personal details need to be included because you are friends.

Formal vocabulary must also be used, as it’s a serious topic.


You need to know how to write formal, informal and semiformal letters.

Any of these might be on your IELTS exam, and you must be ready!

Our 3 Keys IELTS Success System gives you all the strategies you need to write a high scoring Task 1 letter.

We give you details about what the Examiner is looking for.

You’ll get all the info you need to get your score and get past IELTS!

What questions do you have from today’s episode?

Please leave a comment below.

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