Top Tips for IELTS

IELTS airport letter

In this lesson I show you two IELTS airport letters. One is more formal and one is less formal. You will find detailed notes on the letters to help you write them and you can compare the language in the two letters to understand how to make a letter more formal or less formal.

The IELTS airport letter – formal version

A new airport is going to be constructed near your town and you are unhappy about this.

Write a letter to your local newspaper and say

how you heard about the airport
how it is going to be a problem 
what should be done

Dear Sir/Madam

I am writing to register my unhappiness at the proposal for a new airport in Papworth Everard.

I understand from reports in the press that agreement has been reached on building the airport and construction is due to start sometime in the new year.

This development is likely to cause a great deal of disruption to the local community even if we disregard the inevitable problems that building the new terminal, runway and infrastructure will cause. Perhaps the greatest issue will  be the noise pollution from aircraft flying overhead at low altitudes. Life for residents living below the flight path will become all but unbearable, as studies conducted near similar airports have shown.

There is clearly no need for another airport in our community and I believe we should take concerted action to halt any development. I propose that all interested parties should join in a protest march in the town centre to draw attention to the strength of local feeling.

Yours faithfully

(165 words)

Notes on the question and task response

It’s important to cover all the points in the question. A sensible way of doing this is write one paragraph for each point. You don’t need to worry that some paragraphs will be longer and contain more information than others.

Introduction

The letter starts

I am writing to

This is a useful formula that you can borrow. A lot of real life more formal letters start exactly in this way. All you need to do is decide on the main purpose of the letter. Here it is to complain

register my unhappiness 

is a more formal phrase meaning “complain”.

Paragraphs

I divide my letter into 3 main paragraphs. Each paragraph covers one point of the question

  1. how I found out
  2. why it’s a problem
  3. what should be done

Conclusion

The normal way to end a letter is to write about what you expect to happen next. You don’t need a “conclusion” as such.

Ideas for the letter

There are several points you could include. Be careful however not to include too much. Just as in an essay you want to make sure that the ideas you do use are relevant and well explained. So choose the best ones for you. Here are points to consider:

building work – roadworks – traffic jams

aircraft noise – flightpaths

traffic from people using airport

effect on airport on house prices

effect on the natural environment

problem of too much air traffic anyway

In my letter I focus on one problem noise and explain that with an example and a reason. This often the best approach as it helps you write more coherently.

Airports vocabulary

One key area of vocabulary here relates to airports. You want to include some specific vocabulary. There is no need to be technical. Look at the words and phrases I included:

new terminal building

runway

infrastructure 

aircraft flying overhead at low altitudes

flight path

Formal words and phrases

This letter is a more formal as you are writing to a newspaper. Here are some of the more formal phrases in my letter. You should note that most of these phrases have an impersonal structure. To see how they work compare them with the less formal/more personal alternative in the letter to a  friend:

I understand from

agreement has been reached

This development is likely to cause

studies conducted near similar airports have shown 

There is clearly no need 

I propose that all interested parties should 

take concerted action

draw attention to the strength of local feeling

See a less formal letter

The letter below is on the same question – almost. This time it is written to a friend. You can compare the differences between the two versions to help you write more formal and less formal letters.

A new airport is going to be constructed near your town and you are unhappy about this.

Write a letter to a friend  and explain 

how you heard about the airport
how it is going to be a problem
what you think should be done

Hi Pete

I hope you’re keeping well – it’s been a long time since we talked.

Guess what? I’ve just found out on the news that they’re going to build a new airport in Papworth of all places. I think it’s going to start next year, or that’s the rumour.

Obviously everyone is up in arms about this because of what it’ll do to Papworth. Some are just thinking about the inevitable roadworks that building it will cause but others are more bothered about the long-term effects – especially on house prices. Mrs Travis is livid about the noise the planes as she’s right under the flight path and she has trouble enough getting to sleep anyway.

There’s talk of everyone getting together to organise a march and writing to all the local MPs to make them do something about it. I may even get involved myself and I’m thinking about starting some kind of online petition – I guess that’s the way to make people take notice.

Anyway, send me your news and I’ll keep you posted with all the latest from Papworth.

best

Notes 

Structure

Opening/closing

See how I top and tail my letter with a quick paragraph addressed directly to my friend. You can use similar type paragraphs in almost all letters to a friend.

I hope you’re keeping well – it’s been a long time since we talked.

Anyway, send me your news and I’ll keep you posted with all the latest from Papworth.

Content paragraphs

Note that even though it is a less formal letter I still organise my points into paragraphs and use one paragraph for each point from the question.

Less formal vocabulary

This letter is full of words and ideas that you can borrow to help your writing less formal

Guess what? I’ve just found out – The short rhetorical  question form works very well in letters. Note also the short “I’ve”

or that’s the rumour. – you can borrow this phrase

Obviously everyone is up in arms – up in arms is an idiom meaning angry

what it’ll do to Papworth – note the “do” here. It means “what effect it will have on”. When we are less formal “do” is just fine – quite idiomatic

more bothered about – if you are bothered by something you are upset about it – this is a more colloquial form

anyway. – it’s just one word but very effective when used well

them do something about it. – “do something about ” here means “take action over” – it is a good colloquial phrase excellent in less formal letters

some kind of – when we are less formal we tend to be less precise. Some kind of is a great phrase to make your writing less formal

I guess that’s the way to – note the “I guess”

I’ll keep you posted with – this is an excellent phrase you can borrow. It just means “I will write to you”

Get more help with IELTS letters

All my model IELTS letter come with free lessons to help you write them. You can find them here:

Sample IELTS letters

You can get more help on my IELTs letter page

Guide to IELTS letters

   

Get more help with IELTS preparation on the main pages of my site

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Academic task 1 guide

Letter writing guide

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2 Responses to IELTS airport letter

  1. nwaigwe stanley October 21, 2016 at 10:42 am #

    thanks for the tutorials.please i want you to emphasis more on reading.because those comprehension is so difficult for me.best

    • Dominic Cole October 21, 2016 at 11:29 am #

      Hi

      More reading will be coming. For the time being though I’m spending a lot of time updating and improving older materials and that means I simply don’t have the time for new reading materials just yet.

      Apologies

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