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Formal and Informal Styles and Genres

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Nicole Boyd

on 1 October 2013

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Transcript of Formal and Informal Styles and Genres

Formal & Informal
Styles & Genres

Types Of Written Language
This type of writing is more appropriate for professional writing and letters to a boss or a stranger.

Formal writing is probably the most difficult type of writing.

It is impersonal. It is not written for a specific person and is written without emotion.
Formal writing includes
Business letters
Letters of complaint
Some essays
Official speeches
Professional e-mails
There are four types of writing or four writing styles that are generally used.
Knowing all these four different types of writing and their usages are important for any writer.
A writer’s style is a reflection of his personality
Rules for writing in
formal writing
1 Do not use contractions
2. Spell out numbers less than one hundred
3. Write in third person point of view
4. Avoid using too much passive voice
5. Avoid using slang, idioms, exaggeration (hyperboles) and clichés
6. Avoid abbreviations and acronyms
7. Do not start sentences with words like and, so, but, also
8. Always write in complete sentences.
9. Write longer, more complex sentences.
10. Use appropriate punctuation.

Informal writing is written in the way we talk to our friends and family. We use it when we are writing to someone we know very well.
Informal writing includes
•Personal e-mails
•Phone texts
•Short notes
•Friendly letters
•Diaries and journals
There are no major rules
to informal writing
Slang and clichés
Symbols and abbreviations
Incomplete sentences
Short sentences
First person, second person, and third person
Paragraphs or no paragraphs
Personal opinions
Extra punctuation (Hi Bob!!!!!!!)
Passive and active voice

We use the neutral language with non-emotional topics and information.

Some writings are written in a neutral language. This means they are not specifically formal or informal.

It is not usually positive or negative. A neutral language is used to deliver facts.
•Technical writing
Big.......................................................Large or great
For sure.........................................With certainty
Kind of/sort of..........................Type of
Let......................................................Allow, permit
On the other hand....................Conversely, by contrast
So........................................................Because, very (depending on usage)
Colloquial Word/Phrase More Formal Alternative

1. Expository Writing
*The main focus of the author in Expository Writing style is to tell you about a given topic or subject, and leave out his personal opinions.
Expository writing usually explains something in a process
Expository writing is often equipped with facts and figures
Expository writing is usually in a logical order and sequence
2. Descriptive writing
*Descriptive writing is a style of writing which focuses on describing a character, an event or a place in great details.
It is often poetic in nature
It describes places, people, events, situations or locations in a highly-detailed manner.
The author visualizes you what he sees, hears, tastes, smells and feels.
3. Persuasive Writing
*Persuasive writing, unlike ‘Expository Writing’, contains the opinions, biasness and justification of the author. Persuasive writing is a type of writing which contains justifications and reasons to make someone believe on the point the writer is talking about.
4. Narrative Writing
*Narrative writing is a type of writing in which the author places himself as the character and narrates you to the story. Novels, short stories, novellas, poetry, biographies can all fall in the narrative writing style. Simply, narrative writing is an art to describe a story. It answers the question: “What happened then?”
In narrative writing, a person, being a narrative, tells a story or event.
Narrative writing has characters and dialogues in it.
Narrative writing often has situations like disputes, conflicts, actions, motivational events, problems and their solutions.
The different writing constructions.
Categories of written texts that have recognizable patterns, syntax, techniques, and/or conventions.
Each of the types listed below has certain rules or conventions for its manifestation, and we are thus able immediately to identify a genre.
Nonfiction: reports, editorials, essays, articles, reference (dictionaries, etc.)
Fiction: novels, short stories, jokes, drama, poetry, science-fiction
Letters: personal, business, letters of notification
Greeting cards
Diaries, journals
Messages (e.g., phone messages)
Academic writing: short-answer test responses, reports, papers, theses, books
Newspaper “journalese”
Forms, application, application letters
Questionnaires, Directions, Labels
Bills (and other financial statements)
Scientific reports
Schedules (e.g., transportation tables)
Advertisements: commercial,personal, announcements, newspaper advertisements
Comic strips,cartoons
And i’m sure you can name a few more!
Every literate adult knows the distinctive features of each of these genres
1.Imitative or writing down
At the beginning level
Write down English letters, words, and possibly sentences in order to learn the conventions of the orthographic code.
E.g. dictation
Used as a production mode for learning, reinforcing, or testing grammatical concepts.
It does not allow much, if any, creativity on the part of the writer.
E.g., change the tense of verbs.
E.g., note taking for later recall.
Diary or journal writing.
A dialogue journal in which a student records thoughts, feelings, and reactions and which an instructor reads and responds to.
Writing within the school curricular context:
Short-answer exercises
Essay examinations
Research reports
It aims at the genuine communication of messages to an audience in need of those messages.
ACADEMIC: exchange of useful information, group problem, solving tasks.
VOCATIONAL/TECHNICAL: for advancement in their occupation. Filled out forms, real letters, genuine directions for some operation.
PERSONAL: in informal writing such as diaries, letters, postcards, notes, personal messages.
Typologies of writing types according to: Davies and Widdowson (1974), Rivers and Temperley (1978), Ron White (1980), and Anita Pincas (1982).
Is writing for oneself
E.g., aide-mémoires, diaries and journals
Is also for oneself and may never be shown to others.
Is for study purposes, e.g., make notes while reading, or make summaries for exam revision.
Is writing as a member of the general public to organizations or institutions, so that there are certain conventions to keep to in the writing. E.g., form filling, applications, complaints, letters to the editor.
It includes poems, stories, rhymes, drama.
Mainly for oneself but which may be shared with others.
It has the values of helping personal and social development, building confidence and self-esteem, and developing writing skills through narrative.
Includes all the writing that establishes and maintains social relationships with family and friends; that is, personal letters, invitations, condolences, telegrams…
Relates to professional roles and is needed by business executives, teachers, engineers, students in these and other fields.
What’s the importance of knowing what genres are?
The genre trap
Limit students to imitating what other people have written.
Then our efforts may end up being prescriptive (you must do it like this) rather than descriptive.
Writing is a creative undertaking.
A focus on genre can avoid these pitfalls if we ensure that students understand that the examples they read are examples rather than models to be slavishly followed.
Make sure that students see a number of examples of texts within genres.
For each genre that they encounter, we will try to ensure a variety of exposure so that they are not tied to one restrictive model.
Brown, H.D. (2001). Teaching by principles: an interactive approach to language pedagogy. 2nd Ed. NY: Longman.
Harmer, Jeremy. (2004). How to teach writing. Essex, England: Longman.
Hedge, T. (1998). Writing. Hong Kong: OUP.
Persuasive writing is equipped with reasons, arguments and justifications.
In persuasive writing, the author takes a stand and asks you to believe his point of view.
Knowledge of genres (understanding how different purposes are commonly expressed within a discourse community) is what students may encounter when they write English.
It helps in the processes of composing, communicating and crafting by understanding a number of things:
1. what features a piece of writing has.
2. the range of writing and the way one form differs from another.
3. how one form of writing can vary in overall organization and development according to the specific purpose for which it is written.
…Students need to made aware of how this works in English so that they can choose language appropriately.
The only way to get them to do this is to let them read examples of the kind of things we want them to do before we ask them to write.
However, there is a danger in concentrating too much on the study and analysis of different genres. Over-emphasis may lead us into the genre trap.
But sometimes we may not know exactly what are those "conventions": structure patterns, syntax, techniques... for each genre.
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