Letter – Change the Dates of the Visit

You arranged to visit a friend in England but an important event at home now means that you must change the dates of the visit.

Write a letter to your friend. In your letter Explain the important event Apologise for the situation Suggest a new arrangement.

Dear Peter

It was a shame that we missed each other on Skype, so I decided to write a letter to you instead. There’s some good and bad news I need to tell you.

The good news is that my cousin Ravindra has finally managed to persuade Shilpa to marry him. As you know they’ve been going out together for over 5 years now and the family, especially Auntie Geetha, had begun to despair that they would ever tie the knot. I’m sure that you can imagine the celebrations being planned for the reception.

The bad news is that the the wedding is just when I was due to come and visit you in England. I do apologise for this but I’m sure that you’ll understand that I can’t miss my cousin’s big day.

I’d still love to visit you in England, if that’s still possible. It’s not just that I’m dying to see you again, but I’m also longing to see the dreaming spires of Oxford you’ve told me about so often. Would some time in November suit you? If not, just let me know when is best for you.

All the best



You should see immediately that there are 3 different points you need to cover in your letter. You should also think about these points in your answer: Register – informal You should see that this is a letter to a friend and this means you want some less formal language. Here are my tips: avoid idioms unless you are 100% sure that you have then correct: idioms are tricky to get right and you will lose by using them wrongly try everyday informal language such as common phrasal verbs: think of the language you speak – informal letters should read a bit like speech The situation – vocabulary The question allows you to choose your own situation. This is your chance to show off your language. Here are my tips:

choose a situation you know accurate/detailed language for: the language does not need to be complex, only appropriate – think detail – plan your vocabulary

Functions: explain, apologise and suggest

Almost all IELTS letter questions ask you to use functional language (i.e. refusing/accepting/apologising etc). Here you have three functions – explaining, apologising and suggesting. Here are my tips:

choose your function language carefully and make it appropriate to the formality: for example, you should know plenty of ways of saying sorry and should. Spend a little time thinking about which phrase is best for an informal letter to a friend – examiners will notice details like this – this will help your task achievement/response score.


Just like in essays, you want to think about how to plan your letter and make sure each paragraph links together to make a whole. My tips here are:

think carefully how you begin each paragraph and sentence: the beginnings of sentences and paragraphs are where we normally link out writing. Think about how you can do this. Avoid phrases like “moreover” – we simply don’t use them in letters