Task 1 General – What is Task 1 General?


What you need to do

In Task 1 of the IELTS general writing exam, you need to write a letter in English. The letter is a response to a question, such as:

A friend has agreed to look after your house and pet while you are on holiday.
Write a letter to your friend. In your letter

  • give contact details for when you are away
  • give instructions about how to care for your pet
  • describe other household duties

Write at least 150 words.
You do NOT need to write any addresses.
Begin your letter as follows:
Dear …………………,

So, you need to:

  • write 150words
  • write about each part of the question
  • not write about one part of the letter too much
  • use the correct tone (formal or informal)
  • begin and end the letter properly
  • separate your paragraphs clearly
  • have a clear purpose for the letter
  • You DON’T have to give real contact information. So you should just invent an email address or phone number.

Sample Letter

Here is a sample answer to the question above.

Dear Michael,

Thank you again for agreeing to take care of my house and my dogs while I’m on vacation. I thought I should give you a few details for your stay.

I’ll turn off my cell phone during the trip. For any urgent matters, please call or text me. My number is 03292383,, or send an email to yesyes@gmail.com. I’ll try to check my email every day. As for my dogs, can you please bathe them on Friday and walk them at least once every two days.

There are a few chores that I’d like you to do as well. Don’t worry, nothing big. Could you please vacuum the day before I come back. The house tends to get quite hairy with the dogs running around. Also, the plants need to be watered every night.

Thanks again for helping me! Sorry if I’ve left too many instructions, but I’m sure you’ll enjoy my house.

Best Wishes,


This letter:

  • is informal, as the recipient is your friend.
  • is over 150 words (157)
  • uses clear paragraphs
  • answers each part of the question.

Important words

In this lesson we will use some words that are important for letter writing. Here are the meanings of a few of them.

  • formal– a formal letter is one that is more serious, like you would write to a business, or to a doctor, or someone else who you do not know well.
  • informal– an informal letter is the opposite of a formal letter. It is more relaxed. You would write an informal letter to a friend, someone who you know well.
  • tone– the tone of the letter is the feeling and language of the letter. For IELTS, the two tones are formal and informal,
  • recipient– the recipient is the person who you are sending the letter to – the person who will receive the letter.

If you still don’t understand these words, try to translate them in your dictionary. They are very important.

Now, do the quiz to make sure that you understand.


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Use this quiz to check how well you understand what you need to do for task 1 general writing.