Evening IELTS Class – Writing letters of complaint

John Cleese restaurant        This week the evening IELTS class practised writing letters for task one of the general writing exam. We looked at how to write a letter of complaint as opposed to a letter of request. The students looked at the structure of each, important information to include in the letter and how to sign off in different ways. For example, in a formal letter it would be appropriate to sign off using; kind regards or sincerely.

The letter should be about 150 words, which the students realised is quite short, and the recommended time allocated to write the letter is about 20 minutes, so it’s important to be well prepared beforehand. So we looked at how to write a short introduction of about one sentence, followed by two paragraphs, and a conclusion that consists of a one line sign-off or one sentence, for example, “I appreciate your help in resolving this matter.”

In a sample task, students had to write a letter to a restaurant complaining about the bad service, overpriced meals and the severe stomach-aches they suffered the next day as a result. Here is a how we agreed that the letter should be structured:


Dear Manager,

Introduction: One sentence stating why you are writing the letter eg. “I am writing this letter to complain about….”

Paragraph one: Describe the experience, why it was bad, what happened in the restaurant that evening and the sickness that followed.

Paragraph two: Give the manager some suggestions and recommendations on how to resolve the issue. Examples include giving the staff extra training, making sure the kitchen in complying with food handling and health regulations, offering compensation for doctors’ bills etc.

Conclusion: A stock line such as: “I hope to see improvements in your restaurant soon”, or “I look forward to hearing from you regarding this unfortunate situation.”

Sign off: Faithfully, or Regards, or Sincerely,

Joe Blow.

dish puzzled

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *