General IELTS Task 1 Letter Writing – Useful Words & Expressions

To complete your IELTS letter writing task within 20 minutes, it is helpful to know some common phrases and set expressions. Being able to use these will allow you to express your ideas quickly and effectively, without thinking about each and every word. While you’re learning their meaning, also make sure you can spell them perfectly. For lots more help with the General IELTS join the full course today: G IELTS Help

I’m sorry about…
I am sorry that…
I’m very sorry about…
I’m very sorry for…
Please forgive me for…
I’d like to apologize for…
Please accept my apologies.
Please accept my sincere apologies. (very formal)

Asking for Help
I’d be grateful if you could…
I would be grateful if you could…
I would appreciate it if you could…
Could you please…
I was wondering of you could help me.(informal)
I would like to know…

Asking for Information
I am writing to enquire about…
I am writing to find out about…
What I am looking for is…
I would like to know about/if…

I look forward to seeing you.
I look forward to hearing from you.
I look forward to meeting you.

Complaining / expressing dissatisfaction
I’m writing to express my dissatisfaction with…
I’m writing to express my annoyance with…
I am not happy about…
…was very disappointing.

Conveying regards
Please give my best regards to your family.
Please pass on my best wishes to your wife and children.
Please give my regards to your parents.

Expressing satisfaction
I was delighted to hear that…
I was very happy to learn that…
I was thrilled to find out that…
I was glad to hear that…
…was very enjoyable.

Expressing concern / sympathy
I was sorry to hear about… (your accident/ illness)
I am writing to express my concern about…

Giving bad news
I regret to inform you that…(semi-formal)
I am sorry to tell you that…(informal)
I regret to advise you that…(formal)
I am afraid I have some bad news.(informal)

Giving good news
I am pleased to inform you that…(semi-formal)
I am delighted to tell you that…(informal)
I am happy to advise you that…(formal)
I thought you might like to know that…

Giving reasons
This is because…
This is because of…
This is due to… (formal)
This is as a result of…(formal)
This is owing to…(formal)

Making suggestions
Would it be a good idea to…
Perhaps it would be a good idea to…

Thank you.
Thank you very much.
Thank you kindly.
I can’t thank you enough.
No words can express my gratitude.
I am extremely grateful for…
I very much appreciate your ______ing

Let us know if you have any questions with Task 1 letter writing of the general IELTS and we will be glad to help. For lots more help with the General IELTS join the full course today: G IELTS Help

16 Responses to “General IELTS Task 1 Letter Writing – Useful Words & Expressions”

    • geadmin

      Hi Nixon,

      Good question. Here’s an explanation:

      ‘Look forward to’ needs an -ing verb regardless of it being a state verb or a verb of sensation. We know that these verbs are not usually used in continuous tenses but it doesn’t mean that they can’t be used as gerunds. The problem is that we generally think that gerund (like in ‘I like fishing.’) and continuous (‘I am fishing.’) are the same thing.

      Gerunds are half verb / half nouns. You can use state verbs as gerunds like in the sentence, ‘Knowing she was there he went to see her.’

      Continuous tenses can be recognised because they have the verb be as auxiliary verb (be careful with -ing adjectives. ‘I am boring.’ is not a continuous sentence. It only means that I am not an interesting person.)

      As a conclusion, the -ing verb after ‘look forward to’ and any other phrasal verbs is not a continuous tense, it’s a gerund, so the restriction of verbs of sensation and state verbs doesn’t apply here.

      Hope this helps!

  1. Rona Lyn Olivar

    I can’t watch the videos and it’s been 3 days now since I avail the full course.
    I thought if I avail the full course, I could get someone to assess my writing but there another payment for that again. It would be nice if you have free assessment for task 1 and 2 for only once. It’s a huge amount of money especially for me because in the Philippines US dollar is 50x.

    • geadmin

      Hi Rona,

      Please send an email to admin[at] and tell us the problem you are having with the videos. Include screenshots of any error messages.

      As for the writing tasks, these are very labour-intensive to mark, so we must ask for extra payment. Our editors are the highest quality you will find online, and all are native speaking, English language university graduates. As such, we must ask for an extra fee for writing feedback.

      Of course, you are free to post your responses on our forum to get feedback from us, and from your fellow students!

      Good luck 🙂

    • geadmin

      Hi Rajesh,

      Make sure to register for the test. You can do this at your local IELTS testing centre, or sometimes at

      Then come back to us and we will help you prepare for the test with the best materials for learning IELTS!

  2. saroj wagle

    I am planning to give my ILETS test in this year. Please, I kindly requested to you all. Please provide me any suggestions

    • geadmin

      Hi Saroj, Thanks for your question. The best first step is to assess your current level. Complete a sample IELTS test with appropriate time limits. Then mark this test. (We have an IELTS score calculator on our website to help you score the test). After this step, you can identify what you need to improve and by how much? The third step is to create a study plan. We can help you with this when you join our full course which includes a 30 and 60 Day Study Plan to guide you:

    • geadmin

      Hi Anish, semi-formal letters are basically the same as formal letters. You need to use a polite and professional tone with clear vocabulary.

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