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Phrasal Verbs in IELTS Letters

Phrasal verbs can be used effectively in IELTS informal letters to add a more natural and engaging tone to your writing. They often convey actions and ideas in a more colloquial and relatable way, making your letter sound less formal.

Phrasal verbs are formed by combining a verb with one or more particles (usually prepositions or adverbs).

Here are five examples of phrasal verbs and their meanings:

  1. Set up: To establish or organise something.
    I've set up a meeting for us to discuss the trip.

  2. Put up with: Tolerate 
    We had to put up with some difficult situations.

  3. Pick up: Collect
    I'll pick you up to 5pm.

  4. Find out: To discover or learn something.
    I need to find out what time your train arrives.

  5. Run into: To meet someone unexpectedly or by chance.
    I hope we run into some old friends while you're here.

So let's take a look at an example of an informal letter to reveal how you can use phrasal verbs in IELTS letters.

A family member is coming to stay with you. He/she will be arriving by train in the morning, but you won’t be home until the evening.

Write a letter to your relative. In your letter:

  • explain the arrangements you have made for him/her to get keys
  • tell your relative how to get from the train station to your house
  • say when you will be home and suggest what you could do together that evening

Dear Susan,

I hope this letter finds you in great spirits. I wanted to express my sheer excitement about your upcoming visit. It's been far too long, and I can't wait to have you over! Here are the details you'll need.

I've sorted out the key situation for you. Our wonderful neighbours, the Johnsons, have been incredibly kind and agreed to hold onto the keys until your arrival. To get them, all you have to do is head over to their place, which is conveniently right next door to ours. The keys will be readily handed over when you drop by.

To get to ours, when you disembark at Maplewood Station, simply head straight down Main Street for about 500 metres and then take a left. Walk about another 200 metres, and you'll spot our house right across from the post office. 

I'll be back home by 7:00 PM on the day you arrive. Once you've settled in, let's make the most of the evening. We could hang out and catch up on everything. If you're up for it, we can venture into town for a delightful dinner at The Cozy Corner, a local gem, or if you prefer a cozy night in, we can order some takeout and savor it in the comfort of home. I'm open to whatever suits you best.

The anticipation of your visit is keeping me smiling, Susan. Safe travels, and I'll see you very soon!

Warm regards,


Phrasal verbs used:

  • sort out = arrange
  • head over = To go to or visit a specific place
  • hand over = To give something to someone
  • drop by = To visit someone or someplace briefly and informally
  • head straight = Go directly
  • settle in = Become comfortable in a new place
  • hang out = To spend time with someone in a relaxed and informal way
  • catch up = meet/communicate with someone

So using phrasal verbs in IELTS letters that are informal can help to boost your score as it ensures you create the correct friendly tone.

We have lists of phrasal verbs plus exercises on the site so you can learn as many as possible and practice them.

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