Band 8/9 IELTS Letters

Band score 8/9 IELTS Letter Sample (Formal Letter)

You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

You recently ordered a small item online but when it arrived it was unusable.

Write a letter to the company that sold you the item. In the letter:

  •  give details about the order you made
  •  explain what was wrong with the item
  •  tell the company what you want them to do about it

Write at least 150 words.

You do NOT need to write any addresses.

Begin your letter as follows:

Dear Sir or Madam,

Band 8/9 Sample Answer:

Dear Sir or Madam,

Last Monday I ordered a cover for my HTC phone from your eCommerce website. I was excited when it arrived but very disappointed to find that the product was not as promised and totally unusable. I am hoping you will replace it.

In relation to the specifics of the order, I purchased this leather cover through your website called Electric Gadgets on November 08th using my PayPal account. The order number is 2584205 and I am attaching a copy of my receipt with this letter.

The issue with the cover is that it is not a genuine leather product and I am unable to store my phone inside it securely. The picture of the item on your website clearly shows the cover supports the HTC Desire 12+ model and is an original leather product. So I’m sure this is a manufacturing flaw.

As a solution, and because I really like the design and look of the cover, I am hoping that you will agree to replace it with a new and genuine one for free. Otherwise, I would like a full refund and I will be contacting PayPal complaints if I do not hear back from you in regards to this within a week.

Thank you for giving the matter your attention and I hope to hear your reply soon.

Yours faithfully,

John Smith

Band score 8/9 IELTS Letter Sample (Informal Letter)

You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

A friend has agreed to look after your house and pet while you are on holiday.

Write a letter to your friend. In your letter:

  •  give contact details for when you are away
  •  give instructions on how to care for your pet
  •  describe other household duties

Write at least 150 words.

You do NOT need to write any addresses.

Begin your letter as follows:

Dear ............,

Band 8/9 Sample Answer:

Dear Cynthia,

Thank you for agreeing to house-sit for me. If you need to contact me while I'm away, I’ll be staying at The Merrion Hotel, Merrion Square in Dublin. If it’s urgent, however, please call me on my mobile phone, which I’ll keep with me at all times. I’ve written the numbers on a sticky note which I’ve left on the fridge.

My cat needs to be fed twice daily -morning and evening. So each morning and evening put a handful of cat food in his dish and fresh water in his water pot. You will find the food in a jar in the kitchen cupboard. Please check throughout the day to make sure he drinks plenty of fresh water. You can give him a small bowl of milk in the evening but do it every other day.

I would like you to water my plants, too. The indoor ones in the lounge only need water twice a week but the plants on the balcony need to be watered daily except on rainy days. Finally, for security, please lock the door and shut the windows before you go to bed. Also, clear my mailbox every day and keep the outside lights on at night.

I look forward to seeing you on my return.

Warm wishes,


Band score 8/9 IELTS Letter Sample (Semi-formal Letter)

You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

Your neighbours have recently written to you to complain about the noise from your houseflat.

Write a letter to your neighbours. In your letter,

  •  explain the reason for the noise
  •  apologise for the noise
  •  describe what action you will take

Write at least 150 words.

You do NOT need to write any addresses.

Begin your letter as follows:

Dear ............,

Band 8/9 Sample Answer:

Dear Mr and Mrs Williams,

I am writing in regards to the complaint I have received from you recently. My sincere apology for the inconvenience and problem caused due to my actions and I assure you that I will be more careful in the future about it.

I started learning the piano recently. As you may know, I work full-time and the only free time I am able to dedicate to my classes is weekends. I have hired a piano teacher to teach me during the weekends and I am sorry that the noise reached your flat.

I am sorry about the inconvenience I caused to you and Mrs Williamds. I did not expect the sound of my piano to be so loud and reach your rooms. I totally understand your position and request you to accept my sincere apologies.

As a solution, I have decided that I will continue my piano classes at my tutor's house instead of mine. This way I would be able to continue my practice and not disrupt you.

I hope this unpleasant situation hasn’t hurt our friendship.

Yours sincerely,

Alfred Harris

Apply these tips to ensure the band score 8/9 in your GT IELTS Letter writing.

Tips 1: Identify the type of letter you need to write. An IELTS letter can be either a formal, semi-formal or Informal.

You write a formal letter to a person or company you DO NOT know and in a formal situation like complaining about a product or applying for a job. In such a situation you do not have someone's name to address to. You write Dear Sir or Madam, to address the person you are writing to.

Situations when you write a formal letter:

1. Apply for a job/ Resign from a job.
2. Complaint about a product/ service.  
3. Request some sort of information.
4. Book an event.
5. Make a suggestion or recommendation.
6. Apply for a course.

You write a semi-formal letter to a person you know about and have met before. However, this person is not close to you and you address him/her with her second name. The tone and expressions should be formal and you usually write such letters to a neighbour, your landlord/landlady or to a colleague or professor in the university.

In such a situation, you have someone's name to address to. You write 'Dear Mr/ Mrs/ Ms/ Miss ............,' [the dots would be replaced by the second name of the person] to address the person you are writing to.

Situations when you write a semi-formal letter:
1. A letter to a neighbour.
2. A letter to your landlord/landlady.
3. A letter to a colleague in the office.
4. A letter to the professor in your college/university.  

You write an informal letter to a friend. You might want to invite your friend to visit you, thank him for something, congratulate her, apologize to him, suggest her something and for all such situations, you write an informal letter. In short, any letter to a friend is an informal letter and you can use some phrasal verbs, idioms, non-offensive slangs, and informal tones to finish your letter.  

In such a situation, you use your friend's first name to address him/her. You write 'Dear ............,' [dots would be replaced by your friend's first name] to start your letter.

Time saver: Apart from identifying the purpose of the letter and then determining what type of letter it is (i.g. formal/ semi-formal or informal) you can look at the question and observe the line:

Begin your letter as follows:

Dear Sir or Madam,

If it includes "Dear Sir or Madam", then it is a formal letter. If it is "Dear ............," and you need to write to a friend, it is an informal letter. Otherwise, it would be a semi-formal letter.   

Tips 2: NEVER write any addresses as the IELTS Letter Writing Instruction forbids you to do so.

Tips 3: You can use your own name or an imaginary name. However, write your first name when it's an informal letter and your full name when it's a formal or semi-formal letter.

Tips 4: You do not need to write the date or recipient's address in your letter.

Tips 5: Write at least 150 words. If your letter contains fewer than 150 words, you will lose marks.

Tips 6: Open and close your letter accurately. The opening of the letter is the salutation (Dear Sir or Madam, Dear John, Dear Mr Smith etc) and the closing of the letter is the signature (Yours faithfully, Yours sincerely, Warm wishes etc). Look at the following guidelines to carefully begin and close your letter:

Letter Type                    Begining                                                               Ending
Formal                      Dear Sir or Madam,                                         Yours faithfully,      
Semi-formal               Dear Mr ... (the person's second name)         Yours sincerely,
Informal                    Dear ... (your friend's first name)                     Warm wishes,

DO NOT miss out the comma (,) after the Dear ........, and after the closing statement (i.e. Yours sincerely, ).

Tips 7: Starting the letter perfectly is vital in getting a high band score. This is where you attract your reader/examiner and make or break your score. The starting paragraph should clearly state why you are writing the letter.

If you are writing a formal/ semi-formal letter, shoot right away and clearly state the reason for your letter (i.e. why you are writing). Some of the following expressions might help you do so.  

Beginning a formal/semi-formal letter:

I am writing to inquire/enquire about .............
I am writing to inform you that .............
I am writing in connection with .............
I am writing regarding the .............
I am writing in regards to the .............
I am writing to draw your attention to .............

When we write to a person we do not know, we do not want to waste their time by writing unnecessary information and exchanging personal greetings. Instead, we want to get to the point directly.

If it's an informal letter, you should first use some ice-breaking expressions (at least one expression or sentence) like we do in our real life. For instance, even if we want to borrow some money from a friend and that's the sole purpose of meeting a friend, we would start with 'Hi/ Hello, how are you? How are your family?' and then discuss the possibility of lending some money.

When writing an informal letter, some of the following expressions might help you begin your letter:   

Beginning an informal letter:

I hope all is well.
I hope you are well/fine. 
How are you? I hope you are healthy and happy.  
It was nice to hear from you.
It’s been ages since I’ve heard from you.
It is a pleasure to be in touch with you again.
I hope you and your family are all well.
It was a delight to see you in .............
I hope you enjoyed your trip to .............
How have you been? It's been a long since we last met each other.

Tips 8: Use formal/standard expressions in a formal letter. You can use some informal expressions in an informal letter (intended to a friend) but you should never use an informal expression in a formal letter.

Following are some standard expressions as well as their informal versions that you should use in your letter based on the type of letter you are writing:

Informal: I'm writing to let you know that ...
Formal: I am writing to draw your attention to ...

Informal: I'm sorry for any trouble ...
Formal: I apologise for any inconvenience caused ...

Informal: I'm very sorry for ...  
Formal: My sincere apology for ...

Formal: I'm very sorry ...
Informal: Please accept our sincere apologies ...

Informal: You don’t mind …ing (…) (for me), do you?
Formal: I would appreciate if you could ...

Informal: Could you please ...
Formal: I would be grateful if you please ...

Informal: Would it be possible for you to ...?
Formal: I would be most grateful if you would ...

Informal: I’m rather annoyed with ...
Formal: I am writing to express my dissatisfaction with ...

Informal: I am not happy with ...
Formal: I find it most unsatisfactory that ...

Informal: Just give me a call if you have any questions ...
Formal: If you require any further information, please don’t hesitate to contact me... or, Please feel free to contact me if you have further questions ...  

Tips 9: Use formal words in a semi-formal/formal letter while informal versions are accepted in an informal letter.

Informal:              Formal:
Buy                      Purchase
Answer                Respond
At first                 Initially
Enough               Sufficient
A lot  of               Many/ Much/ Numerous
Need                   Require
Right away          Immediately
Try                        Attempt
Ask for                 Request
Also                      Moreover
That's why           Therefore
Better                  Superior  
Old                       Elderly
Cheap                  Inexpensive
Costly                  Expensive
Next                     Subsequently
Tell                       Inform
Leave                  Depart
Wrong                  Incorrect
Fix                        Repair
Live                      Reside
Home                   Residence
Start                    Commence/ Begin
Whole                  Entire
Get                       Acquire / Obtain
Watch                  Observe

Tips 10: Make sure your handwriting is clear, legible and NOT hard to follow. Yes, your handwriting still matters in this era of technology - especially if you are going to take IELTS. You need to write your letter with a pen or pencil in a paper. If the reader/examiner has a hard time reading your sentences, you can't expect a higher band score.

Tips 11: Use correct spelling. If you want to get band score 9 in writing, you can't afford to make any spelling mistakes. Contrary to common belief, a single spelling mistake can hurt your band score heavily. One effective way to improve your spelling is writing without the help of any spell checker and then correcting the mistakes.

Tips 12: Use punctuations correctly. Yes, an incorrectly used punctuation mark is as bad as spelling mistakes and sometimes worse!

Tips 13: Use the correct grammar. Not to mention, any grammatical mistake will hinder you from getting a band score of 8 or 9. You should use a variety of sentence structures (simple, compound, and complex sentences) to express your mastery in grammar and writing style. You can get a band score of 5 to 6 by not writing a variety of sentence structures but not more than 7.

Tips 14: Use correct paragraphing and do not write the entire letter in a single paragraph. Your letter usually should have the following paragraphs:

Salutation &
Introduction (First Paragraph: clearly state why you are writing the letter).

2nd Paragraph (details of the problem/ giving more information/ Asking for something in details etc based on the letter requirement).

3rd Paragraph (details of the solution/ actions/ giving extra details).

Closing sentence + Signature (i.e. Yours faithfully and so on)
+ Your name.  

Maintain at least a line break or two between these paragraphs. Alternatively, you can right indent these paragraphs. Some teachers prefer both the line break and the right indent style. This also improves the readability of your letter.

Tips 15:  Respond to all the three bulleted points in full. IELTS letters generally come with three bullet points that instruct what you should include in your letter. Being able to respond to all these three bulleted points would ensure a higher band score. For example, you might be asked to write a letter to the municipal authority to complain about the damaged road in front of your house. Then the second instruction would be -

"In your letter:

  • introduce yourself
  • explain the condition of the road
  • and suggest what they should do"

You should cover all the three expected bullet points to efficiently write your letter. Some suggest using separate paragraphs for each of these bulleted points. However, you can mix two (NEVER more than two) to write a paragraph.

Ideally, each paragraph should NOT be less than 40 words and more than 80 words.

Use a topic sentence or expression that clearly states what this paragraph is going to describe. For instance, the expression, "In relation to the problems with the room ......": in a letter distinctly denotes that you are going to tell about the problems you are having in the room you live in. Similarly, the expression "As a solution and since I really like the location of the flat" refers that you are going to propose a solution in this paragraph.

More Band score 8/9 IELTS Letter Samples

(Formal Letter)

You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

You are unhappy about a plan to make your local airport bigger and increase the number of flights. You live near the airport.

Write a letter to your local newspaper. In your letter

  • explain where you live
  • describe the problem
  • give reasons why you do not want this development

Write at least 150 words.

You do NOT need to write any addresses.

Begin your letter as follows:

Dear Sir or Madam,

Band 8/9 Sample Answer:

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am writing with regard to an article published in your newspaper on 18th October that outlined the local administration's plan to make the local airport bigger and add more flights to the schedule. I believe if this plan is carried out, the problems which local residents already face would be aggravated.

My house is located within 15 minutes walk from the airport and life here is already tough due to frequent flights, noise created from those flights and traffic congestion as an indirect result.

The low-flying aeroplanes are utterly noisy and disruptive. They create harsh noise and we have a hard time concentrating on our work or sleep peacefully at night. Sadly, I often woke up by the late night flights and many children and elderly citizens in our area are suffering from high-stress levels, tinnitus, hearing loss, sleep disturbances, and other harmful effects.

I am afraid that the expansion of the airport would reduce the area for the playground and a park which is under construction near the airport. The traffic condition would deteriorate with more people using the airport and that would decline the standard of living in this area.

Considering all the negative consequences, I strongly disagree with the plan to expand the airport area and increase the flight number. I would really appreciate if you could possibly write an article about the problems this initiative is likely to cause.

Thank you in advance.

Yours faithfully,

Andrew Heywood


(Informal Letter)

You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

You have recently moved to a different house.

Write a letter to an English speaking friend. In your letter

  • explain why you have moved
  • describe the new house
  • invite your friend to come and visit

Write at least 150 words.

You do NOT need to write any addresses.

Begin your letter as follows:

Dear ............,

Band 8/9 Sample Answer:

Dear Maggi,

I am writing to let you know that finally, we have moved to a bigger house! We just could not go on living in the two-bedroom apartment now that the children are growing up and we need more space for indoor activities. So we started looking and finally, here we are in our new home.

I'm sure you'll love it. We have three bedrooms now and two balconies. The house comes with spacious bathrooms and a modern kitchen. The kids are happy because there is more space with the big living room and the garden outside. But James is perhaps the happiest of all because this house is near to his office.

Why don't you come round this weekend and see what you think of our new place? We would all love to see you and if the weather is good we can have a barbecue party in the garden.

Our new address and phone number are below, so give us a call and let us know when to expect you.

Lots of love,


1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Rating 4.33 (6 Votes)
Dipak Roka
It is really helpful for the preparation of IELTS Exam. Thanks a lot.