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Sunday, January 31, 2016


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Hi Simon,

Could you please comment on the tone and language for the following letter?

You are not happy with the course you are doing at college and would like to change to a different course. Write a letter to the college director requesting to change your course. You should include details about:

  • What course are you doing?

  • Why are you not satisfied with the course?

  • What course would you like to change to?

Dear Mr. Andrew,

I am writing to inform you that I am not content with the course, Financial Accounting, in the seventh semester and I would like to enroll in another course.

During the start of the semester, I selected "Financial Accounting" course to broaden my knowledge scope as the rest of the courses are focusing on computer science. However, after taking few classes, I am a bit skeptical about its implication in the practical field. I fail to see how it would help me being a better software professional.

Afer consulting Mr. Smith, the faculty chairman, I believe it will best serve my professional career if I enroll in Machine Learning course. Big Data is trendy nowadays and many big companies, including Amazon and Microsoft, are investing heavily in developing applications leveraging machine learning. I would appreciate if you would allow me to take "Machine Learning" course instead of "Financial Accounting".

I await your prompt response.

Yours sincerely,
Jay Bhatia


Hi Simon,

Thanks so much for your reply. I've checked my exam results today online and found that I got a 7 in writing, 7 in speaking and 9 in both reading and listening. This gives me maximum points for language skills to go to Canada so I'm really happy. I was worried about the writing part as I said because we weren't really taught to write semi-formal letters where I reviewed. I'm so glad it turned out fine after all. Thanks for your help.

it's a letter to invite your colleage to a company conference you hold. I started the letter with 'Dear Mr. Smith,' end with 'kind regards, my full name.'
is that alright?

Dear Mai,

I have the same purpose to get general IELTS >=7 for all skills )listening >=7.5) to get highest score for language to go to Canada. I just started Ielts by self-study for one month (however, I studied Master program in English in Canada for 2 years but I never try or take an Ielts exam before). I have checked this website daily to study from Simon and others and found it very helpful.

I admire to see that you have a very high result and obtain the score you want. Can I get in touch with you to study some experiences about ielts to make me progress faster?

hi Jay,

I think your letter is quite good although you made some spelling mistakes. "enrol", "after"

And just my opinion as it is really inappropriate when you used this "I await your prompt response".
It sounds like you are making an order not asking a favor.
I would use "I looking forward your response"

Hi, Simon.

I know you don't give marks for essays in the comment here, but I would really appreciate it if you could help in this case.

In the last test, I left only 10mins for writing task 1 and I had written it completely wrong. The question asked me to write to my manager to refer a translator while I had written to a friend asking him to be a translator for our company. I wrote it in a rush and didn't meet the requirement of 150 words. In this situation, I'm wondering what scores can I get because I got a overall 6 in writing. I want to know my task 1 score so that I would know if my task 2 had a band 7.

Many thanks!

Many thanks!

Dear Simon,

I have this example from IELTS Cambridge 5 book:

Your neighbours have recently written to you to complain about the noise from your house flat.
Write a letter to your neighbours. In your letter *explain the reasons for the noise
*describe what action you will take.

I struggled to decide on how to begin. I thought that it should be plural because it says "neighbours", but how can we call our neighbours in plural? Or is it not necessary to be plural.

And, again I can't decide on the best style.

Here is my "mixed" try:

Dear Neighbours,

I received your complaint letter regarding the noise from our house. I am writing in reply for the explanation and apology.

We have been experiencing mold building on our walls since we moved in. I searched about the subject, and decided that it must be caused by excessive humidity resulting from lack of necessary aeration in the bathroom. As a result, I bought a bathroom fan, and had it installed to the aeration opening last Saturday. However, I believe it has not been installed properly, and causing a lot of noise.

I noticed the situation, I made an appointment with the re-installmen for next Saturday. I tried to bypass the fan until than, but I could not manage to do so myself. Therefore, I will call them again and ask them to do this right away.

Thank you for letting me know about this situation that bothers you, and I am really very sorry for the inconvenience I am responsible for.

Best wishes,

Hi Anna,

I'm planning to make a video lesson about that kind of question, because I agree that it's unclear whether it should be formal or informal. I would suggest that either type of letter would be fine.

You could pretend that you know your neighbours well and write in a fairly informal way e.g.

"Dear John and Jane,"

Or you could imagine that you don't really know your neighbours. In that case, I would invent a surname e.g.

"Dear Mr. and Mrs. Smith,"

I would probably choose the more formal second option myself.

I hope this helps.


Thank you very much for your response. I'll try to stay on the safe side.

What is the difference between formal,semi formal and informal letter...and how to find which is these letter in formal or other ??

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