Top Tips for IELTS

A formal request letter – a lost certificate

This lesson shows you some useful formal request language for IELTS letters. I show you the question, a sample answer and also provide two exercises to help you with formal request letter language.

The question

Your company sent you on a training course in another country and at the end of the training you got a certificate which you have lost.
Write a letter to the course organiser and tell him/her:

  1. How you lost your certificate.
  2. Why you need the certificate now.
  3. What you need him to do for you.

Analysing the question

You should see that:

  • you need to answer all 3 parts of the question – do not leave any out. It can be sensible to write a paragraph on each to make it clear to the examiner
  • this is a more formal letter and you should try and use more language
  • you need to be able to make requests politely

Some more formal request letter language

Please is the magic word! To make the request more polite, try using Please would or Please could. The structure is

Please + could + you + verb   e.g. Please could you send this back by return

Two alternative words are grateful and appreciate. They have slightly different structures so be careful:

would appreciate + it + if     e.g. I would appreciate it if you sent this back by return

would be grateful + if +     e.g. I would be grateful if you sent this back by return

The sample answer

Read my sample answer and then test yourself on the letter writing vocabulary in the exercise below.

Dear Sirs

I attended your course in Marketing Strategies for the Ice Cream Industry which was held in the Jubilee Centre in Brisbane in November. I am writing to ask if it would be possible to send me a certificate confirming that I attended the course for all four days.

I lost the original on my flight back to Canterbury. I had put in my briefcase along with all the course notes and foolishly I left the briefcase on the plane. Qantas were unable to find the case when I contacted them and I suspect that a fellow passenger probably took the case by mistake.

Please could you send me the replacement certificate by post. Unfortunately, my company will not accept a scanned copy as an email attachment.

I would appreciate it if you would treat this as a matter of urgency because I am in the process of applying for a promotion and I need to have all my certificates for this process.

Thank you for your help.

Yours faithfully


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3 Responses to A formal request letter – a lost certificate

  1. Shruti November 26, 2014 at 6:33 am #

    Domic sir,
    My name is shruti and i applied IELTS twice but i haven’t scored a desirable band. i have to score 7 band in each modules which is hard to me becoz i m from vernacular medium school. Actually in my second attempt exam i received the same question for letter writing.

    I am regularly doing your online practice but i m not confident. I request you to please suggest me how can i improve my reading, listening and writing skill at home on daily basis.

    • Anonymous August 15, 2016 at 1:41 pm #

      Join Some online tutorial classes.


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