E2 IELTS General Writing Task 1 | Informal Letters | TOP TIPS with Jay!

hello everybody my name is J I'm one of the expert IELTS teachers here at e to language what we're going to do in this live class is look at IELTS general writing task 1 and we're going to focus on the informal letter which you may get there are three types and informal is one of them more specifically I'm going to show you what an informal letter prompt looks like I'm going to show you what an IELTS eight or nine model letter looks like I'm going to talk to you about structure flow vocabulary and grammar and we'll finish by looking at some top tips for writing high scoring informal letters okay and everything that we're going to do today is going to be based on these weird-looking things which are the criteria they are the things that the IELTS examiner's look at when they're marking your writing so everything each language does is based on these criteria we direct you towards those higher scores based on what IDP British Council and Cambridge University do okay all right so let's start by talking about the question prompt you mention it's test day you open up your book and this is what you see it says you should spend about twenty minutes on this task it also tells you some other instructions down here it says write at least 150 words you don't need to write any addresses and it also tells you how to begin your letter but this thing here is critical right a friend we already know that it's an informal letter a friend who lives in another country has invited you to come and stay with him or her on your next holiday you are too busy to accept the invitation write a letter to your friend in your letter a thank him or her for the invitation B explain why you cannot come C ask him or her about other times to visit it seems pretty simple but there's a lot of things that you need to do in order to maximize your score here even if you're a native English speaker and you can write a fantastic letter there are some real little tricks that you need to understand okay let's look at a model letter which would be an eight or nine I'm not going to read it to you because I'll read it to you in detail in a second when we look at it section by section but certainly on your paper in front of you or on the computer if you're taking the computer-based IELTS this is what your letter should look like I just want to draw your attention to the three distinct paragraphs that we talked about a B and C right this stuff's fine you can memorize this sort of stuff here but this is the critical thing that you need to focus on here and you can see that it's distinct separate paragraphs alright let's talk about the structure each of those paragraphs is based on one of the dot points and what I have not done is mixed my paragraphs together so dot point one is based only on dot point one it doesn't introduce information from dot point two etc I've kept them kept them clear and separate so how we start the letter the first thing you do well here it says dear Raja this is taken directly from the instructions where it tells you how to begin your letter dear editor okay that's easy the first paragraph I had to thank my friend Raja yard for the invitation and actually this is kind of difficult because I don't want to just write one sentence on this dot point because I need to keep my paragraphs at about the same number of words so I really needed to be imaginative and think of different ways of to thank my friend for the invitation so what I wrote was thank you so much for your invitation it's a really generous offer to put me up at your place in Tokyo remember he lives in another country I'd really like to come and it's very kind of you but unfortunately I won't be able to make it due to my hectic work schedule okay so I've thanked my friend for the invitation I've also made some sort of connection to the second paragraph I haven't mixed it because I have now in the second one I need to explain why I cannot come okay I've said in the first paragraph that I've got a hectic work schedule and now I'm going to elaborate and extrapolate on that and explain it in more detail I've just started a new teaching job and I've been working around the clock it's been intense exclamation mark I don't mean to complain I've been enjoying it immensely and the school I'm working at is actually our old high school which has been a lot of fun do you remember mrs. Brown she's actually my supervisor so almost everything from this paragraph relates to the reason why I cannot attend third paragraph I need to ask my friend about other times to visit could you let me know of another time I can visit because of the school holidays I'll be free in the new year and I'll also be free in winter so if you're available then I'd certainly love to escape the call to visit you and then I sign off in a friendly way in an informal way not a formal way I just say something like I can't wait to hear from you your friend Jay all right cool so what we found with structure there is we want to keep the paragraphs about the same number of words we don't want to mix our ideas between paragraphs it's okay to sort of say something that will introduce the next paragraph and you also have to be imaginative in each of these paragraphs so that you can increase the size of them flow is also very important and what flow means is that each of the sentences that I write link to the next sentence and link to the following sentence and so on and so forth and the way that we do this is instead of inserting many different ideas I take that single idea of thanking my friend or explaining why I cannot come and I elaborate on that single idea okay and I push myself to come up with different ideas related to that single theme and if I can do that I'm going to write much more interesting paragraphs rather than just inserting lots of random information this is a really tough thing to be able to do okay vocabulary is also critical so I've highlighted some of the key vocabulary here and you'll notice that very few of them are single words because when we're thinking about vocabulary were often thinking about natural sounding phrases collocations for informal letters phrasal verbs etc okay so let's have a look at some of the collocations generous offer for example put me up at your place that's a phrasal verb my hectic work schedule there's a nice collocation an interesting adjective of hectic working around the clock is an interesting phrase or an idiom almost I don't mean to complain is a good phrase enjoying it immensely is a good collocation a lot of fun a good collocation and then something interesting happens down here I've said I'll be free in the new year and I'll also be free in winter so if you're available then now it's okay to use the same word once or twice but on the third time I didn't want to write free again so I changed it to the word available even though that's a little bit more formal than free I didn't want to repeat the same word a number of different times so just be careful if you are repeating words again and again stop think of a different synonym and use that just to show off your vocabulary range okay and lastly certainly love to escape the cold is a very nice phrase and escape the cold is an interesting phrase in itself so I've used a range of different vocabulary and of course all of the word forms are correct which is good okay let's talk about grammar so what you need to do in order to boost your score is not just get the grammar accurate but you also need to show a range of different grammar and more specifically you need to use a range of different sentence types okay so you might be a fantastic writer in English but if you just write simple sentences or compound sentences you're not going to get a high school for grammar and it's going to bring down your overall average score as well so you really need to think about inserting different sentence types showing off the full range of grammar that you have and the different sentence types that you are able to write for example some of these sentences like I'd like I've used a modal verb here you can also say I've used a contraction instead of I would and I'd do two so here this sentence in fact is a really important sentence because I've used a subordinate clause due to my hectic work schedule I'd really like to come and it's very kind of you but unfortunately I won't be able to make it due to my hectic work schedule these kind of linking words that create those sentences we have an independent clause like a full sentence but then another clause that sort of hangs off it like due to my hectic work schedule these are very important there's a video that I did on these I'll put it in the description below you should watch that after this one because if you do not use these types of sentences in your essay and in your letter the maximum score you get for grammar is 4 okay you absolutely need to consciously insert these sentence types into your letter let me show you a few more okay here's another one here which has been a lot of fun there's what's called the subordinate clause because we've got the independent clause the full sentence if you like and then the part that hangs off it oops what else we got we've got one here as well I've started a sentence with because and this also creates one of those sentence types because of the school holidays I'll be free in the new year and I'll also be free in winter so if you're available then I'd certainly love to escape the call to visit you this is a complex sentence on a number of different fronts first of all are views that because conjunction if conjunction I've used some modal verbs this is an excellent sentence that IELTS examiner's love because I'm showing the full range of my ability here for example I've written a question form which is also fine as well so again just to recap this grammar part it doesn't matter if it's 100% accurate that's only half of the trouble the other half is that you need to show a full range of different sentence types you must consciously write various sentence types into your letter okay I can't labor that one enough okay so let's look at some top tips for informal letters then first of all you need to plan before you write you don't need to spend a long time planning but remember what you don't want to do is mix your dot points together you want to keep those paragraphs separate so just stop for 30 or 40 seconds right at the start and think okay I need to use my imagination do I have a friend that lives overseas maybe I can use that as an idea and then write to your plan you should use the person's first name like rod yard or Tom or John whatever not mr. Smith you should start with a friendly greeting like it's so great to hear from you again don't write I am writing to because that's formal number four as we discussed you need to give each bullet point equal attention that means that each PAP each paragraph should be roughly the same number of words okay number five you should use contractions like I'd four I would and she's four she is etc that's fine in informal letters number six exclamation points are fine you should try to write one into your letter seven this is critical you need to use your imagination number eight you can use phrasal verbs in informal letters like as we saw put up or get off for example number nine you should avoid formal connecting words like however therefore as a result these are not appropriate for informal letters what is appropriate for informal letters our words like so but etc those types of conjunctions ensure so sign off in a friendly way for example I can't wait to see you not I look forward to hearing from you okay so keep those top tips in mind if you enjoyed this video and you like what eetu language is doing please click the subscribe button hit like leave a comment and share this with your friends the subscribe buttons just down there and if you click the little bell every time that we release a video you'll be you're getting alert on your phone so you can watch it straight away that'll be cool and lastly if you need some help with your IELTS maybe you've failed a couple of times perhaps you're just concerned because you think your English might not be good enough check out a two language comm where a hundred percent online test preparation on the platform we've got overviews methods practice questions mock tests grammar lessons etc off the platform you can take one-on-one tutorials with expert arts teachers and in some cases X IELTS examiner's you can join our daily live group classes on IELTS reading IELTS writing task 2 etc and you can also get feedback on your writing including your letters what you do is you write your letter on the platform on e to language comm you submit it one of our expert teachers will assess it send it back to you tell you exactly what you're doing right and tell you exactly what you're doing wrong then you can go ahead and take a tutorial and focus in on that if you need to cool I think that's all there's the website there WWE 2 language comm thank you very much watching hope it was helpful remember you probably need to practice this stuff what I'm teaching you is just a theory so do put pen to paper or fingers to keyboards and do some of this practice thank you

43 Replies to “E2 IELTS General Writing Task 1 | Informal Letters | TOP TIPS with Jay!”

  1. If you are about to write your IELTS exam, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to follow Jay's videos and if you need a more hands-on approach, go ahead and pay for the E2 subscription(SO WORTH IT I PROMISE YOU!). I watched Jay's videos and got a band 8, my first and only time taking the IELTS exam. Thank you Jay, for being such an amazing, straight to the point teacher.

  2. Hi Jay,
    I heard from my videos that we should not use contractions in our essay. But you have used so is it fine to use some
    E.g : can't

  3. hey , although your video is good one but in answer it is written i dont mean to complain . that is not at suiting here as there is nothing to complain neither in question nor she is working under her friend .please clarify further about this.thanks

  4. Thanks a ton from Mumbai! .. I'm so so glad I came across your channel the day before my speaking task.. It's all the prep I did for my IELTS exams.. I scored an overall 8.5.. all thanks to your tips! So greatful to you Jay!

  5. Hi Jay, I was just watching you General Writing Task 1 Informal Letter Videos and I found some contrasting differences in two of your videos. I'll be glad if you can help me in this scenario:

    There is one video you uploaded on July 3, 2017 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5oPF7QLgyo
    In that video, you have used the same topic for IELTS Writing Task 1 but you have explained there that we should start with ''I am writing to thank you'', where as in this video at the ending section top tips, you have clearly mentioned that we should not start in this way (tip 3). Which one is the correct one:

    According to your top tips, we should not use formal endings (tip 10), then why did you use ''Please let me know'' in the 2017 video? Can we consider this phrase as informal or not?

    At the end, I would like to thank you since we are learning a lot from your videos.

  6. it was helpful video. Thanks a million for it.
    But I've surprised due to a small thing, which I find there – "use contractions".
    Have I understood correctly that I have to use them (contractions) for informal letters?

  7. Hello Jay,
    I really love your video and tips. But I have some questions to you, In your 1st Informal writing task 1 video. You started letter with "I am writing to" and In that particular video, Also, mentioned closing sentence like " I am looking forward to hearing from you". But in Top Tips video, you mentioned not to use those sentences. Could you please suggest here, what we need to do or not?

  8. Simple, accurate, and straightforward.
    You’re the best Jay.
    You score 9 in teaching skill!
    Thank you.

  9. A friend you met last year has invited you to visit them in their country. you have never been there before and need some information before you leave.

    1. request advice about a gift for his/her family.

    2. ask about activities and clothing.

    3. Find out about food

    Dear Sanjay,

    Thank you some much for the invite. It's really really generous offer to put me at your place in NewYork. I will be visiting next month to your city and I'd really like to bring some gifts for your family but I don't know the likes of your kids and wife as we are meeting for the first time so can you please share me those details. Please take me a beautiful location which you shared on Instagram last year.

    Hey, I will be there for a week at your place so would be really keen to know, How will be spending those days! Quite excited to know the activity plan and list of places we will be visiting those days as well as you know that this is the time of Christmas so do share me what kind of clothes would be required to bring in to reduce effects of cold weather.

    Could you please tell me about the food! As Christmas days will be there so what are the special food your wife will going prepare for us as you promised me about plum cake. I still remember the words of yours when you describe the test of it and that makes me quite excited about it. I would also like to try some special dishes from your city which are famous in the city.

    I can't wait to hear from you.

    Your friend


    Please rate my latter

  10. Where is your Mr. Cool cup? You're really a cool teacher! Thank you so much for putting up this video.

  11. The letter is great but I have been listening to a lot of videos on how to write a letter or essay and most of them suggest that I should not be using contraction in my writing. So, I am kind of confused that whether or not should I use contraction or not ?

  12. Hi Jay! The letter is about being asked to spend the "Holiday" Is it a good idea to excuse the situation with work??

  13. No one can stand in par with Jay with IELTS teaching. Thanks for his "cool banana tips". We missed it for a long time. 🙂

  14. should i ignore your previous video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5oPF7QLgyo ? which suggests to use phrases like "I'm writing to"

  15. Your tutorials are amazing. I just need to know how many times I need to take IELTS until they decide to give the mark I need.

  16. Hello… nice video. how to differentiate 150 words and 250 words while writing the tasks can u plz reply.

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