Look at the General Training Informal Letter Task below.
Your photograph recently won a photography competition and will be shown in an exhibition.
Write a letter to your friend. In your letter
- describe the photograph you sent to the competition
- tell him/her about the exhibition where your photo will be shown
- invite him/her to the exhibition
I trust you and your family are in good health and happiness. I am happy to share the news that my recent photograph collection has been chosen to be displayed at the upcoming World Art Exhibition in London.
This is a global event being attended by some of the reputed artists in this field. If you recollect, I went on an expedition to Tanzania recently, during which I photographed local tribes. After my return, I posted these photographs on my website, which eventually caught the attention of the organizers and decided my candidature.
I am happy for the fact that my hobby has received this global recognition and I would be very grateful if you were able to attend this exhibition to see my work.
I sincerely look forward to your presence and hope that you will be able to accompany me on this presitigious occasion.
How are things? I hope you’re doing well. I’ve got some great news! You know I put together a collection of photos from my trip to Tanzania? Well, I got an email this morning saying they want to display them at the World Art Exhibition in London! How cool is that?
This is a global event and there’ll be lots of well-known photographers there. Do you remember I took lots of photos of local tribes while I was in Zanzibar? Well, when I got home, I put them on my blog and they somehow caught the attention of the organizers.
I’m so happy that I’m finally getting somewhere with my so-called hobby. You’ve always been one of my most loyal fans, so it would be great if you could come to the exhibition with me.
I really hope you can make it – let me know and we can arrange a time to meet,
Model A is very nicely written, but it’s much too formal, and this will seriously lose you marks if Task 1 asks you to write to a friend.
Stay as informal as you possibly can, like Model B:
- ask direct questions – ‘Do you remember..?’
- put a few exclamation marks!
- use phrasal verbs (‘come with me’ instead of ‘accompany me’) and colloquial expressions/idioms if you’re confident they’re correct (‘How cool is that?’)
- choose an informal way of starting and finishing the letter
- use contractions (I’m, I’d, I can’t etc)
- use direct commands (Let me know!)
- don’t be too polite – remember you’re talking to a friend
- adopt a ‘spoken’ style by dropping unnecessary words (
That’sall for now = All for now) ( It wasgreat to hear from you = Great to hear from you).
Read plenty of ‘informal’ letters like this one to get more familiar with this style of letter.
Finally, remember to always check who you’re writing to – don’t use this style if you’re writing a Letter of Complaint or Job Application.
Here is another letter from the same session. Can you improve it?
I hope this email finds you well. It has been such a long time since I heard from you. I am writing to let you know that I won a photography competition and I would like to invite you to the exhibition where my picture will be displayed.
As for the photograph, if you recall, I went to the Maldives last year and I sent some snaps to the competition. Fortunately, one of them was chosen.
To my surprise, it will be displayed in an art exhibition to be organized by the local council this Friday. I am very excited about it, as artists across the globe will visit. Not only will this exhibition encourage young artists, but it will also collect funds from entry tickets that will go towards the charity for cancer research.
Finally, as a winner, I’ve been given a free ticket for one guest, and I would be grateful if you would accompany me. I sincerely hope you can attend.
Hope you’re well – haven’t heard from you for ages!
I’ve got a bit of good news. Do you remember the photo I took in the Maldives last year while we were canoeing? Guess what?! I entered it into a competition, and it won! They said it ‘perfectly captured the spirit of the Maldives’. Pretty amazing, isn’t it?
Anyway, there’s going to be an exhibition of all the winners – do you fancy coming along? It’s next Friday. I’m dead excited about it – there’ll be a lot of professional photographers giving tips to newbies like me, and all the proceeds will go to charity, so it’s all for a good cause.
I hope you can make it. After all, it’s thanks to you that I took the photo in the first place!
Let me know if you’re coming and we’ll go for a pint/coffee afterwards if you’re free.
How can my Writing Feedback help you?
The examples above are letters that my students wrote for a Writing Feedback session in the Members Academy.
Most students were happy to be corrected, but one student thought I was crazy and giving them the wrong advice.
Change is difficult. If you’re resistant to change and feedback, it is even more difficult to get the score you’re aiming for.
Perhaps you were taught to write formal letters at school and maybe you feel uncomfortable writing in a different style.
Perhaps your teachers are STILL teaching you to write formally.
Perhaps you think that you need to use formal language because IELTS is a formal test.
These beliefs will hold you back from a Band 7 score.
Phrasal Verbs with ‘with’
Most of the students wrote “accompany me” instead of using the phrasal verb option “come with me”.
Here’s a quick practice of formal/informal equivalents of formal verbs like ‘accompany’.
Always check the meaning in full sentences before you use them.