These IELTS sample letters illustrate the different types you may come across in the test.
This is an example where you need to make a request. It is a letter to a landlord requesting that rent be paid late.
It is semi-formal because it is someone that the letter writer knows.
Below the model answer are comments.
Dear Mr Strickland,
I am writing to you to request that you allow me to pay my rent late this month.
I’ve been a tenant with you for a number of years now, and, as you know, I have always paid my rent on time. However, I am having a few financial problems at the moment. Last month, I was made redundant from my job because the company I work for is closing down. Because I have not worked at the company for long, I have not received a redundancy payment, therefore leaving me short of money this month.
I can assure you that I will be able to pay the rent on the 15th of next month. I have now found another job, and they have kindly agreed to give me an advance on my wages, but they are unable to arrange this until next week.
I hope this will be acceptable to you, but please contact me if it is a problem.
The letter is well-structured as the writer makes it clear in the first sentence why the letter is being written, gives further details of the problem in the first body paragraph, and then in the final paragraph sets out when payment will be made.
The tone of the letter is appropriate as it is polite (I am writing to you to request..., I can assure you...., I apologise for this problem..., please contact me if it is a problem... ).
The opening and closing of the letter are correct for a semi-formal letter to someone if you know their name (Dear Mr Strickland..., Yours sincerely... ).
There are good examples of correct use of tenses, demonstrating that the writer has a very good working use of grammar: