IELTS Letter Tenses

In this lesson we’ll take a look at using the right tenses in an IELTS letter.

In the Task 1 for General Training, you are first told the situation. In this sample, this is the situation:

You are going away to travel for the summer. A friend will be looking after your house while you are away. Write a letter to your friend. 

You are then given three points that you must cover in the letter:

In your letter:

  • Say where you are going
  • Describe your house
  • Explain some of the things your friend must do to look after your house 

In order to answer the letter successfully, you need to make sure that you use the right tenses to fit the points.

We’ll break the letter now down into each of its parts to see how tenses are used. 

Remember that every letter is different. This lesson is just showing which tenses are needed to this particular letter. 




First Point

Say where you are going:

As I mentioned to you I’m going to France for a vacation. I’ll be getting the Ferry over to northern France where I’ll spend a few days, and then I’m heading to Paris for the rest of the trip. I’ll be staying with some friends there in the city most of the time. I’ll be online and will have my phone so you can contact me any time.

Which tenses have been used?

You haven’t been to France yet. It’s something you are going to do later on, so you need to use the future tense

The future is phrases such as:

  • Verb ‘to be’ + going to 
  • Verb ‘to be’ + verb + ing 
  • Will + infinitive 

Take a look at the paragraph again. The future phrases have been highlighted.

Say where you are going:

As I mentioned to you I’m going to France for a vacation. I’ll be getting the Ferry over to northern France where I’ll spend a few days, and then I’m heading to Paris for the rest of the trip. I’ll be staying with some friends there in the city most of the time. I’ll be online and will have my phone so you can contact me any time.




Second Point

Here is the next part. 

Describe your house:

My house is fairly small so it shouldn’t be a problem to look after it. There’s an open plan kitchen/living room downstairs and then a couple of bedrooms upstairs. You can sleep in the spare bedroom, which is at the top of the stairs on the right. There’s also a small garden which you can sit out in when it’s sunny.

When we describe something, it’s common to use the present simple. If you look at the paragraph again you’ll see that most of it is in the present. 

Of course you’ll see other common words to describe the location of things in a place such as ‘There’s an……downstairs’ or “….which is at the top of the stairs”.




Third Point

Now take a look at the last part:

Explain some of the things your friend must do to look after your house:

The only things I’d like you to do are to make sure you put the bins out on Tuesday night of the second week as they are collected Wednesday morning. Also, if you could water all the plants once a week it would be great. If you go out, please set the alarm as there have been burglaries in the area recently (I’ll leave you the code by the door).

In this last part you are giving instructions. 

When you give instructions, advice, or orders, you should use the imperative

To do this we use the infinitive of the verb without ‘to’. They have been highlighted in the next paragraph:

Explain some of the things your friend must do to look after your house:

The only things I’d like you to do are to make sure you put the bins out on Tuesday night of the second week as they are collected Wednesday morning. Also, if you could water all the plants once a week it would be great. If you go out, please set the alarm as there have been burglaries in the area recently (I’ll leave you the code by the door).

So to summarise, when you write your letter, make sure you address each of the three points, but also think about what tenses you may need.

Below are the full question and the full model answer



Full Model Answer

You are going away to travel for the summer. A friend will be looking after your house while you are away. Write a letter to your friend.

In your letter:

  • Say where you are going
  • Describe your house
  • Explain some of the things your friend must do to look after your house


Write at least 150 words

You do NOT need to write any addresses

Begin your letter as follows:

Dear……..,


Dear Debbie,

Hope you are doing well. 

Thanks again for helping to look after my house in August while I’m away. I really appreciate it. 

As I mentioned to you I’m going to France for a vacation. I’ll be getting the ferry over to northern France where I’ll spend a few days, and then I’m heading to Paris for the rest of the trip. I’ll be staying with some friends there in the city most of the time. I’ll be online and will have my phone so you can contact me any time.

My house is fairly small so it shouldn’t be a problem to look after it. There’s an open plan kitchen/living room downstairs and then a couple of bedrooms upstairs. You can sleep in the spare bedroom, which is at the top of the stairs on the right. There’s also a small garden which you can sit out in when it’s sunny.

The only things I’d like you do to are to make sure you put the bins out on Tuesday night of the second week as they are collected Wednesday morning. Also, if you could water all the plants once a week it would be great. If you go out, please set the alarm as there have been burglaries in the area recently (I’ll leave you the code by the door). 

Anyway, must get off now. I’ll give you a phone call a few days before I leave. 

Bye for now

Aimee

(244 Words)



 

› IELTS Letter Tenses

 

 

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