IELTS letters can be either formal or informal – it depends on the kind question you receive. For example, if you are asked to write to a friend, you should write in an informal language. If you are asked to write to your boss, you have to write in a more formal style.
Here are some tips for writing an informal letter.
Use contracted verb forms
Contracted verb forms like don’t and can’t are not considered appropriate in formal or academic writing. But they are perfectly acceptable in an informal letter. In fact, by using contracted forms you can easily lend an informal touch to your letter.
Be personal by using personal pronouns
In formal and academic writing, we try to use impersonal language. One way of doing this is to limit the use of first and second person pronouns. In informal letters, we must try to be as personal as we can. That means phrases such as ‘I think’ and ‘you should’ are possible in informal letters.
Use simple sentences
In academic writing, we tend to use complex sentence patterns. They are essential to demonstrate our range of grammar and vocabulary. In personal letters, we should avoid using extremely long sentences. Instead, use simple and short sentences. You can also use short questions. For example, instead of writing ‘I would like to know what your opinion is’, you can write a simple question like ‘What do you think?’
Idioms and phrasal verbs
These are generally avoided in formal writing, but they are perfectly acceptable in informal letters. For example, you can write ‘drop by’ instead of ‘visit’. In the same way, you can write ‘look into’ instead of ‘investigate’.
Choice of vocabulary
In formal letters, we use precise vocabulary. In informal letters, we can make good use of simple general use words like go, get and nice.
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- IELTS test in the UK – January 2012 (Academic module)