General Training Task 1: Opening Salutation

ScottsEnglishScottsEnglish Administrator Posts: 1,293 admin ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
edited October 2017 in IELTS Test
We recently received a Task 1 (letter) from a student planning to sit the IELTS General Training test.  Here's how the letter began:
Dear Mr Tom

Do you know what's wrong with the beginning of this letter?

The problem is with the name, 'Tom'.  In English, we never use the first or 'christian' name of a person when it follows 'Mr'.  Consider a person named Aaron Smith.  In English, we would formally refer to this man as 'Mr Smith' and NOT 'Mr Aaron'.  

By the student referring to the person as 'Mr Tom', it would make the examiner think that he/she doesn't understand the correct English conventions.  This would be a negative in the mind of the examiner.

Suggestion: Make sure you use common last/family names in your opening salutation.  Here are some examples:

Dear Mr Smith
Dear Mr Jones
Dear Mr Clark

Make sure you get your opening right!  B)

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