Useful Language 

IELTS General Training: How to Write an Informal Letter

If you are attending for General Training exam, you will need to write a letter for writing task 1. This letter can be a formal letter, or an informal letter. In this page we are going to show you how you can write an informal letter for General Training Writing Task 1 exam. (If you want to know the tips and strategies of a formal letter writing, click here.)

When you get the question paper, your very first job is to find whether it's asking you to write a letter to your friend/a close family member. If you are writing the letter to either your friend or a close family member, it's an informal letter. Apart from them, whoever you are writing to, it will be a formal letter.  

Therefore, put simply, just answer this question below to understand whether you are required to write a formal or an informal letter.

Question: Who you are writing to?

Answer: Friends or close family members. (Write a formal letter).

Answer: Anyone else except friends or close family members. (Write an informal letter).

Please, plan first, then write

It will not take much time to make a plan before you start writing. Some people have the perception that it will cost their valuable time. I guarantee you, it will never be your waste of time, rather it will pay off. Definitely your planned letter will be smarter and more organized than the non-planned ones.


We suggest you spend 20 minutes for the letter writing. You need to write 160-170 words in this time. Look, if you write 11 words per minute, you can write 165 words in 15 minutes. And some words are very small such as, a, an, the, am, is, are, many other auxiliary verbs, and modal verbs etc. 


Once you have the plan in your head, your writing will be smooth and confident. Therefore, 15 minutes will be more than enough for you to write the letter. 


Hope now you are quite convinced that you can easily spend 5 minutes in planning, and write the letter for the remaining 15 minutes.

How to Plan for an Informal Letter

Both the Planning strategy and writing structure all are same for both formal and informal letter writing. The planning stages are:

  1. The Topic of Your Letter

  2. The Person/Authority You are Writing to

  3. The Bullet Points 

  4. Idea Generation

Take a look at the following example question, and apply your planning strategy:

You have recently launched your new business.

 Write a letter to your friend. In your letter:

  • Explain the reason why you changed your previous business.

  • Describe your new business

  • Share your friend some other news

Let's develop the plan for writing the letter:

The Topic of Your Letter:

"You have recently launched your new business" is the topic of this letter.  

The Person/Authority You are Writing to:

A friend

The Bullet Points:

  • Explain the reason why you changed your previous business.

  • Describe your new business

  • Share your friend some other news

Idea Generation:

Think simple. Make up, if needed:Don't think too much in this section. Just make up something from your life, or completely from nowhere. It's okay to lie here. Because, it's a language test, not a knowledge test. The examiner is never going to verify your story or information that you are writing. Rather he/she will see how how you communicate using English writing form.

Stay relevant: Relevance is very important. You can make up, but make sure it answers the question. Otherwise, the examiner will get the impression that you have not understood the question. In fact, understanding the question is also a part of your language skill.

A Sample Informal Letter Response

"You have recently launched your new business.

 Write a letter to your friend. In your letter:

  • Explain the reason why you changed your previous business.

  • Describe your new business

  • Share your friend some other news"

The Response

"Dear James,

I hope you are doing well. I am writing to let you know about my new business initiative that I have just launched a month ago.

You know, previously, I had a software developing business. It was an impressive venture when I first started back in 2000. But with the elapse of time, the software market has become very competitive. It takes more time, money, and energy to get the same revenue that I could earn before. At one stage I started realizing that if I invest the same level of resources in some other businesses that I am interested to, I might gain better. That's why this big decision.

By the way, here we go with the exciting exact news, my new business initiative. It's about fashion designing, a booming industry due to globalization. I made a contractual agreement with some young and promising designers. I will promote their designs using my diverse marketing strategies. As a result, I will get a slice of the profit from the designer patents. 

However, there is one more lovely news that I must share you. My youngest daughter has just availed a full fund scholarship to Harvard. We're proud of her. In fact, nothing could made us happier than that of her incredible achievement.


Write back when you have some time. I cannot wait to hear from you.


Take care,


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