IELTS General Training Task 1- Structure of Writing Formal Apology Letter

General training IELTS exam is an exam which is conducted for the students who want to immigrate permanently to abroad in order to work or to be employed there. IELTS exam format of the GT IELTS exam is all the same with some major changes in writing and reading exams.

In this particular article, General Training Writing Task 1 will be discussed within which tips to write a letter of apology under GT writing task 1 (letter writing) will be shared.

Letter of Apology

Letter of apology is a type of semi-formal letter in IELTS General Training writing task 1. It is written to express an apology or to say sorry for something mistakenly or deliberately done by you. It can also be written for missing any event in which you were invited.

This type of letter can be written to

● Your boss (for not attending any meeting)

● Your friend (for not attending any party)

● Your landlord (for apologizing for the late rental payment).

As it is a type of formal letter, so formal language should be used. However, the level of formality depends upon how well you know the person to whom you are writing a letter. So maintain your writing tone throughout the letter.

Structure Of Writing An Apology Letter

● Start with the greetings.

● Start with the body where you should introduce yourself first and tell about the purpose of writing a letter.

● The 2nd body paragraph should describe the reasons for your apology or why you did not make up for it?

● Last is the conclusion paragraph where you can apologize once again by assuring me not to commit it again.

● End it by writing your full name.

Less Formal

More Formal

I apologize for missing your party.

I wish to sincerely apologize for missing the meeting.

I Regret that I couldn’t make it.

I deeply regret that I was not in attendance.

Please accept my apology.

Please accept my sincerest apology.

I’m so sorry I wasn’t able to come.

I am very sorry that I was not able to come

Further Description To The Structure

✔️ Greetings

First of all, start your letter with greetings

● Dear Sir

● Dear Sir/Madam

Name of the person can also be mentioned if it is a type of known semi-formal letter.

● Dear Mr. Smith

● Dear Mr. Brown

● Dear Mark

✔️ Introduction

● The first paragraph is about the introduction. It should start with a highly formal and polite tone. It will decide how the tone of your letter will be throughout.

● Remember that it can be informal in case you know the person. Again, the level of formality depends on how friendly you are with that person.

● Politeness should be maintained throughout the letter as it is an apology letter.

✔️ Purpose of Writing

A background is needed to be discussed first to start the letter in a formal way. In an introductory paragraph, write about the purpose of writing.

What can be written

● I am writing to apologize for my absence…

● I owe you an apology.

● I’m writing with regards to the meeting…

● I just received your email about the meeting…

● Many thanks for your invitation to…

● Just got your text about the party…

● Please accept my sincerest apologies for my absence.

● I would like to apologize for missing the meeting.

● I take full responsibility for any inconvenience caused.

● I realize that this is my fault.

● It’s all my fault!

● I’m (ever so) sorry I couldn’t make it to your party last weekend.

Then write the reasons

● Unfortunately, I will be unable to attend…

● I’m afraid I won’t be able to attend…

● I’m really sorry but I have already made other arrangements…

● What a pity! I can’t make it that day…

✔️ Giving the Reasons

After the introduction paragraph, a paragraph comes where you are supposed to write the reasons for your apology. The tense usage can be past or future. If you have missed something, then probably it would be in the past or if you are going to miss something, then it would be in the future tense.

Connectors to start with the reasons:-

● I fully understand how important this meeting is/ was but…

● I understand that….

● I want to let you know that…

● Firstly,....

● I know how much the party means to you, but…

✔️ Last Body Paragraph

Last paragraph should include the commitment of not doing it again or by writing what further can be done to amend it. Basically, how you would compensate for your mistake will be discussed here.

● I assure you that I will do everything possible to avoid this happening again.

● I promise that it won’t happen again.

● Kindly forgive me for my mistake, I won't ever let this happen again…

● I’ll make it up to you, I promise!

● I sincerely hope that you were not inconvenienced by (my actions, my mistake, this misunderstanding)

● I hope that you can forgive me.

● Please don’t be mad at me!

Tense Usage For Apologizing

✔️ should/shouldn’t + have + Past Participle

● I shouldn’t have left it so late to book the tickets

● I should have booked the tickets earlier

✔️ wish + had + Past Participle

● I wish I’d known about this earlier.

● I wish I hadn’t said yes.

✔️ could/would + have + Past Participle

● I could have/would have done something about it (if I’d known about it earlier)

Closing A Letter Of Apology

At the end, write something polite and apologize to end it.

● Once again, I sincerely regret missing the activities and hope you understand the unavoidable circumstances that led to my absence.

● I hope that this will not cause too much inconvenience and would be very grateful if you could keep me up to speed with any developments.

● I hope the meeting goes well and look forward to hearing about the plans as soon as possible.

● I really hope you will accept my sincerest apologies.

● Please let me know if you have any further issues

● Hope you have a great time at your party!

VII. Greetings at the end

● Yours sincerely, … (in case of formal letter your manager)

● Best wishes, ... (In case of a less formal letter e.g. to your boss who you know well)

Also Read- Structure of Writing Formal Complaint Letter

Sample Letter

You said you would attend a friend's dinner party but you did not go.

Write a letter to your friend.

In the letter:

- Apologize for not attending

- Explain why you did not attend

- Say what you will do to make up for it


Dear Mac

I am writing this letter to apologize for my mistake which I should not have done. I’m sorry that I didn’t make it to your dinner party. I know that you had worked hard planning the get-together and that you were expecting me to be there.

Unfortunately, there was a mix-up with my phone’s calendar. When I added the event, accidentally, I set the date for the week ahead. As a result, I thought the party was next Friday. I know technology is supposed to make our lives easier but I'm not good with it.

In fact, when you were trying to call me last night, I was sitting in the movie theatre with my smartphone shut off. Then, I forgot to turn it on again and didn’t get your messages until this morning when I powered it up.

I hope that you got the flower arrangement and wine I delivered today. To further make up for this blunder, if you are available, I’d like to have you and Janie over for dinner next weekend. I’ll make your favorite Italian dishes.

Please accept my apologies.



I hope the structure of writing a letter of apology is clear. Keep in touch for more informative blogs like this. Keep practicing hard.

Best of luck!

Dr. Roma

Content Writer