Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Today you’ll read inappropriate examples from General Training Letters, and learn how to improve on them.

In General Writing Task 1, the tone and format of the letter are crucial for your Task Achievement score.

Both of these have to be appropriate according to the question, regarding the audience of the letter and the context of the information.

Appropriate Formal Support

Recently, a student expressed concern with a question she’d had on the exam.

It was clearly supposed to be a formal correspondence, as it was penned to a building manager.

In this letter, the writer was to talk about why she rides a bicycle to work, problems with parking it in the building, and suggested solutions.

Now, in the real world, you wouldn’t explain your reasons for riding a bike in this letter. It’s none of the building manager’s business, and has nothing to do with the parking problems or solutions.

The reasons this student gave was that she’d recently gained weight and wanted to lose it, and was told by her doctor that she needed to lower her blood pressure through exercise.


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These are personal health problems, and do not strike the correct tone to a building manager whom, supposedly, you do not know.

How can we find an appropriate reason, then?

Keep it more impersonal.

For instance, you could say that as you are an eco-conscious individual you use a bicycle as your main mode of transportation. This choice, you’ve found, has made your life more convenient in numerous ways, such as not having to look for a parking space, saving money on gas and parking, and making it through downtown faster than motorized vehicles during rush hour.

So, when you are brainstorming for your letter, make sure that all of your ideas are hitting the appropriate tone, according to the intended audience.

Do you have any questions about IELTS Writing?

Share them in the comments section below!


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