IELTS Letter Writing: Tone of the letter

Letter Writing: Tone of the letter

In General Training module, the candidates are required to write a letter. Now, it is absolutely essential that depending on the addressee and the superiority or position of this person, you may need to change your tone of the letter.

For example, for a complaint or an application letter, you cannot use very informal spoken kind of language. You need to emphasize your point and for that you need very formal language. On the other hand, when you’re writing to a friend or cousin, you need to be very friendly and say easy greeting words at the beginning and at the end.


Tone of the letter: Formal or Informal

Source: TheEnglishStudent


Letters can be broadly classified into three categories depending on the style of letter.


A letter written to a person who is in authority and whom you do not know personally.

Beginnings: Dear Sir/Madam,

Endings: Yours faithfully,


This is a letter to a known person. However, the formality of the language really depends on the relationship you have with this person. For example, if you’re writing to a pen-friend and you know a lot about this friend, then your language will be close to an informal language but certainly you can never be completely informal. However, if you’re writing to your uncle or neighbour then you need to use a respectful tone.

Beginnings: Dear Mr and Mrs Smith,

Dear Mr. Jefferson,

Endings: Yours sincerely,

Warm Regards,

Kind Regards,


This is a letter you write to your friends. These letters contain informal language, almost like a spoken language. Nonetheless, writing has its own conventions and you need to follow them. In general, informal letters include greetings and getting to know about your friend. These content is usually added in the first paragraph. The language is very informal and colloquial. In this letter, idioms are also permitted with abbreviated forms such as I’m, He’s, etc.

Beginnings: Dear + name of the person,

Dear Charles,

Endings: Best Wishes,

With love,

Best Regards,

So, always use a proper style of letter depending on the person you’re writing to and his/her position.

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