IELTS General writing task 1: Letter to a friend

informal writing ieltsModel answer for a letter to a friend about exercise.

In the general version of IELTS writing task 1, there are 2 types of letters, Informal and formal. Some teachers say there is a third semi-formal style but if the task is a letter to a friend it is informal, while everything else would be formal.

In informal letters, you can use contractions and write in a friendly way. If the letter is to a friend and it seems too formal in tone, then you will lose marks on task achievement. Here is what it says about that below.

The marking criteria for Band 7 task achievement states:
presents a clear purpose, with the tone consistent and appropriate

Analyse the task

When you get the task you should spend a couple of minutes analysing it before writing anything. Underline keywords so that you know exactly what to write about and you are on topic.

Task Question

You need to do more physical exercise. Write a letter to your friend asking him to join you.

– Say why you want to do physical exercise.

What type of physical exercise you are planning to do.

Why do you want your friend to join you.


So basically you need to write a letter inviting a friend to join you in doing more exercise, note that it mentions physical exercise.

You need to explain the type of exercise you wish to do, so this could be running, weight training, going to the gym and so on. Notice the future form here ‘planning to do’ so use the future tense or ‘would’ for a future intention in this paragraph.

You will also need to give a reason to your friend on why you want him/her to join you in this. For example, maybe you need someone to help keep you motivated.


For both types of letters informal or formal you need to follow this 7 step structure :

ielts general writing

Model Answer

Dear Bob,

I just thought I’d drop you a quick line to see if you’d like to join me at the gym this weekend.

As I mentioned to you last week, I’ve put on about 4kgs recently. Since I started my job 2 months ago I’ve been stuck in the office most days and never get a chance to do much exercise. A new gym has opened in town and this could be a good chance to lose the flab.

I’m planning to use the running machine and they also have a rowing machine, that really burns the fat. I really need to build some muscle too, so the weights would be very handy for me.

You mentioned that you wanted to do some weight training so this could be a good opportunity for us to work out together. I also need someone to motivate me so it’d be great if you could join. I was thinking we could go on Saturdays and Wednesday evenings.

Let me know what you think.

All the best



175 words

Keep the word count below 190 words, it is not necessary to write more than this. You should write over 150 words though, aim for 160 to 180 words in writing task 1 (same for the academic version of IELTS)


Take a closer look and you will see that I have used contractions in the letter, this is necessary for an informal letter. Contractions are short forms such as :

  • I’d (I would)
  • you’d (you would)
  • I’ve (I have)
  • I’m (I am)
  • it’d (it would)
  • can’t (cannot)
  • won’t (will not)
  • aren’t (are not)
  • isn’t (Is not)

Signing off

The final few words at the end of the letter is the sign-off, so in an informal letter use a friendly style such as:

  • Regards
  • All the best
  • Kind Regards (can also be formal and warm)
  • Take care
  • Cheers (casual and informal)

Leave a comment below if you have any questions.

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