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Formal & Informal Writing

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Crystal Kieloch

on 26 February 2014

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Transcript of Formal & Informal Writing

Formal & Informal Writing
When it comes to writing in English, there are two main styles of writing – formal and informal.
Formal Writing
Used in academic and scientific settings
Needs to be clear, not ambiguous, literal, and well structured and concise.
Make your thesis obvious throughout (Everything in your document should be related clearly to your main thesis)
Formal writing requires substantial effort to construct meaningful sentences, paragraphs, and arguments relevant to a well-defined thesis.
The best formal writing may be difficult to write but very easy to read.
Informal Writing
Reflecting and questioning
helps students to become independent, active learners through personal understanding
Used for creative writing
Helps us discover what we know and what we can express on our first try
Informal: May use colloquial words and expressions (kids, guy, awesome)
Formal: Avoid using colloquialism words (replace with children, man, wonderful)
Informal: May use contractions (don't, won’t, shouldn’t, etc.)
Formal: Avoid using contractions ( do not, will not, should not, etc.)
First, Second and Third Person
Informal: May use first, second and third person
Formal:Write in third person
First Person: "I" and "We" are known as the "first person," because you are talking about yourself.
Second Person: Using the "second person" - happens when talking directly to another person or group of people.
Third Person: He, She, It, and They all refer to the "third person."
A stereotyped expression that has lost originality
Informal: May use clichés (dime a dozen, loads of, etc.)
Formal: Avoid clichés
Addressing Readers using second person
Informal: May address readers using second person pronouns (you, your, etc)
Formal: Avoid addressing readers using second person pronouns (use one, one’s, the reader, the reader’s, etc.)
Informal: May use abbreviated words
Formal: Avoid using abbreviated words, use full versions (TV-Television)
definition-shortened form of a word or phrase
Informal: Active voice (We have estimated...)
Formal: Passive Voice* (It has been estimated...)
*passive voice should be employed sparingly
Informal: The subject may be difficult to decipher
Formal: Confidently stating points-clear
These are just some of the differences between formal and informal writing.
The main thing to remember is that both are correct; however it is just a matter of tone and setting. Choose the style of writing keeping in mind what you are writing and to whom. But whichever style you write in – formal or informal – be sure to keep it consistent. Please do not mix the two.
Informal: Simple (short) sentences are acceptable and sometimes essential to making a point
Formal: Complex sentences provides the reader with more insight. Each main point needs to be introduced, elaborated upon and concluded.
Definition: Writing in the way one speaks
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