How to set the right tone in GT Writing Task 1

When answering the General Training Writing Task 1, you should identify who you are being asked to write to as this will help you get the right tone for the letter.

If you are writing to a friend the language you use will be less formal than if you are writing to a stranger, someone that you do not know. 

In a letter to a friend:

  • use abbreviations (I’m, don’t, it’s etc.)
  • use everyday language (How are your kids getting on at school?)
  • use emotive language (That film was total rubbish!)

In a letter to a stranger: 

  • avoid contractions (I’m, don’t, it’s etc.)
  • avoid everyday language such as slang (e.g. ‘children’ not ‘kids’)
  • avoid emotive language (awful, rubbish etc.)
  • avoid vague language (nice, good etc.)

As a general rule, the longer the sentence, the more formal it is: ‘I would be grateful if you could assist me with this matter’ (formal) ‘Please help me with this’ (informal)

Here's a link to some informal vocabulary and its formal equivalents.

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