When the IELTS Task says ‘write to a friend’ or 'write to your family member', the letter style is informal (in all other cases use the formal style). The informal letter must be written in the correct style — chatty and friendly.

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If the IELTS Task doesn't say ‘write to a friend’ or 'write to your family member', the letter style is formal (in fact, about 2/3 of all IELTS letters are formal). In a formal letter, you should follow the correct style — be polite and do not use contractions.

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