Opening Line for IELTS GT Letter WT1

The opening line in IELTS General Training Writing Task 1 Letter. You need to change the opening line for your letter depending on whether you are writing formally, to a company or another organisation, or if you are writing informally, for example to a friend.

Below are some sample opening lines for an IELTS GT writing task 1 letter: both formal and informal. You can also read how the opening statement sets the tone of your IELTS letter.

Formal Letter Opening Statement

In a formal letter, the opening sentence should indicate the aim of your letter. The first line of a formal letter will show if you are writing a complaint letter, requesting information, answering an invitation, applying for a position, making a formal apology or making arrangements. You will also see that the letter might start “Dear Sir” or Dear Mr …”. IELTS will give you instructions on your test paper about how to start your letter.

Below is are examples of how to begin your letter:

Dear Sir / Madam,

I am writing to complain about … / to request information about … / to apply for … / to enquiry after ….  / to inform you … /  to thank you …

Full Opening Statement: I am writing to apply for the position of manager in your company which you recently advertised in the Times newspaper on June 4th.

Dear Mr Brown,

I am writing to you regarding my recent stay at your hotel … / regarding an article you wrote …. / 

Full Opening Statement: I am writing to you regarding the road works that are being carried out in Church Street, where I currently reside.

Dear Mrs Jones,

I am writing in reply to … 

Full Opening Statement: I am writing in reply to your invitation to the seminar which you will be holding on “Historical Artefacts in the Ancient World” on Saturday, June 26th.

Comments: You can see, above, that the first line of your IELTS formal letter is very structured. There is little variety. This is normal. Formal letters are not creative or descriptive, they are informative and without personal reference.

Informal Letter Opening Line

In an IELTS informal letter, your first line will often start with a friendly remark or comment. The beginning of the letter doesn’t always show the aim, it shows your relationship with the person. This means there is a variety you can choose from.

See some examples below for the beginning of an informal IELTS letter:

Hi Dave,

How are you and your family? It feels like forever since we last got together for a catch up … / How are things going? It’s been ages since we were last in touch.

Hi Sophie,

How are you? It was great seeing you again this summer.

Hi Frank,

It was so good seeing you last weekend. I just wanted to drop you a line and thank you for such a great time.

Comments: You can see that most of the opening lines are offering greetings or just small talk. It’s a chance to for you reestablish your friendship before getting into the aims of the letter.

Signing Off IELTS Letters

To learn about signing off, for example Your faithfully or Your sincerely, please see my essential tips page: IELTS Letter Essential Tips. You can also learn about types of IELTS letters and much more useful information.

More IELTS General Training Lessons

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  1. Davinder says

    Can I start my letter with “Respected Sir or Madam”. or Can I loose marks if I do so?

  2. tim burks says

    Hi Liz,

    In my last IELTS exam I was asked to write to a newspaper editor about some issues with local historical place of great importance.

    It was not clear to me that is that a complaint, request, suggestion or what is the purpose. What can newspaper editor do for such a cause? so i ended up being very confused and the result was a poor letter.
    Can you suggest something?


    • What were the points to include in your letter? There should have been three points. They will also help you understand the purpose.

      • Tim Burkey says

        Thanks Liz, the points were:
        Why that place is important
        What issues concern you
        What actions you want to be taken.

        The issue that confused me was its not the job of the newspaper to taken any action on such issues. What do you suggest?


        • I can only give advice based on what you have told me. It looks like this is a letter which is aimed to bring something to his attention. Sometimes people write letters to the editor which are then published in a newspaper for others to read. The aim is just to bring an issue to light. For this I would write: “I am writing to you concerning ….”. It can’t be addressed as a complaint letter because you are not complaining directly to the editor – it is not his responsibility to fix anything. But you are writing concerning an issue which you are reporting to him.
          Does that help?

  3. Hi Liz
    Your website is extremely useful
    I have a doubt, Please suggest.
    Below opening statement is appropriate for which letter style writing?
    ” I hope his letter finds you in good health and spirit”


  4. Hi Liz, I have been reading your blogs and I find them really helpful. Thanks to the great job you are doing. Please could you help me rate this task 1 essay I got from your site. Please your comment will mean a lot to me and help me improve. Many thanks in advance.

    Dear John,
    How are you and everyone at home? I want to say a big thank you for hosting me for the holidays and I must say I had a wonderful time.
    I had a terrible trip back home because of an unnecessary delay I had at the airport that lasted for several hours. I was completely tired even before the commencement of the trip. On getting to Lagos, I wanted to take a cab home and then I discovered that I had left my wallet in your room. Am not totally sure where I kept it, but I guess it will be on the table in your room. I eventually had to call Tom to pick me up from the airport.
    Please kindly help me send it through the mail. I will prefer you use a registered service particularly UPS or FedEx because I need it back urgently. Most of my identity cards and ATM cards are in it. Not to forget, text me your account number so I can transfer the postage fee to you.
    Many thanks to you my friend, I will be expecting your text message. Stay blessed.
    Yours Sincerely,

  5. Its the best i saw yet ……

  6. I appreciate everthing

  7. Hi I m Jasmina from Ahmedabad. I had given my ielts exam on 24th June in general module.
    I feel very great full by using your site. It is really very helpful for me.
    My writing task 1 is write a letter to your landlord about damage to the flat due to bad weather.
    Task 2 is some people think that all criminal should not be kept in prison.instead of they have to do unpaid work or community service. Do you agree or disagree.

    Speaking part 1 is fruit and advertisement.
    Part 3 is helpfulness,politeness,teamwork
    Part 2 is describe a person who had worked or studied with you and help you.
    My part 1 & 3 gone very good. But I had done some mistake in part 2 so how it is effect to my bandscore.

  8. Ezekiel SODIYA says

    Can a high band score in General allow me to put in for educational programs after the migration to the destination with General?

    • Most educational programs require you to take the academic test. But you will need to check with each educational course that you are interested in.

  9. Dear Liz,
    Thank you very much Liz. This is my first email from you , I’m so glad the content is about how to write a letter which is what I want. I have been always struggling with writing a letter. This email help me straight away! I’m so appreciated.

    Kind Regards

  10. Thanks a lot mam, for giving useful lessons for letter writing.

  11. Hi Liz;thank you so much for the valuable informations that you support us with.l would like to ask about the (s) of possession in reading and listening, is it count for the answer?? I mean if the word end with s for possession is it considered wrong if I did not write it?? for example : children’s actions : is this count 2 or 3 words? Also if I didn’t write it is it considered wrong answer?? Thank very much

    • You will be marked on plurals. If you write a singular answer but the answer should be plural, it will be marked wrong. So, listen out for that “s” and remember that uncountable nouns don’t have “s”.

  12. Viviane says

    Hi Liz,

    Thanks for that. How about the end?
    Formal always “yours faithfully” and “yours sincerely”? And informal, is it “best wishes” and “best regards?


    Best, (?)


  13. Hi Instructor Liz,

    Greetings Ma, Just needed clarification with the opening statements.
    Like in one of the question on your website, about writing to my former teacher requesting reference from him/her for a new job am trying to secure.

    Can I start the opening statement with a brief introduction of myself before going in-depth into my main reason for writing? Just to bring them abreast on who is writing.

    Thank you ma… you’re a rare gem!!! much love from Perth Wa

    • The instructions will tell you if you need to introduce yourself. If you are writing to a teacher, it will be a teacher who knows you so you don’t have to introduce yourself. Just follow the instructions and plan your paragraphs according to them.

  14. Hi there i took the test only reading part was bit messed up.. due to time shortage last 6 questions i answered without reading them. could u tell me if there are six or 7 mistakes in IELTS general what will be the band score for reading. I heard marking of reading of general test is different from academic test. Is it true?
    How to check the band score according to number of mistakes for general test?

    • See this page: GT reading and Academic reading have different band score requirements.

      • Dashwep Domse Biyangshak says

        Thanks ma for the incredible insights you do give us. Am happy getting emails from you. The task 1 format you gave (overview, introduction, body paragraph and conclusion) can you do me a favour by sending a full write up sample for this same task? Thanks Dashwep

        • I did not give a structure which includes a conclusion for writing task 1. I also did not say that you should have one body paragraph. You can find all model answers on the main writing task 1 page of this site.

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