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Formal academic writing language

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Learn about formal academic writing language. Read this blog, you will find all the essential information that you require. 

What is Formal academic writing language?

The way a writer expresses themselves is referred to as their writing style. It takes into account things like spelling, grammar, and punctuation, as well as things like sentence length and word choice. Depending on the type of writing and the purpose of the writing, the writing style may change. Academic writing, journalistic writing, and business writing are all different sorts of writing with various goals and traits, as you can see from the examples above. The style of a person might also vary depending on their age (age) and nationality.

On the other hand, depending on the tone, any writing style can be labelled as formal or casual.

This blog explains the underlying differences between formal and informal writing styles, so you can tell the two apart and use them effectively.

What Is the Difference Between Formal and Informal Dress?

On the other hand, informal language and writing are acceptable for everyday use.

It is, in essence, how we speak and write to communicate with our friends and family. Slang and colloquial expressions will be included (defined as phrases that are used in informal but not formal language). Some spelling and grammar mistakes may be tolerated by the recipient, while others may not.

As a result, we are more inclined to use a casual writing style than formal language when connecting with our loved ones by email or letter. Blogs and other online content, as well as online advertising, are usually written in a more informal, conversational tone.

Formal writing necessitates greater concentration.

It’s a formal writing style that’s commonly used in business and other official settings. In terms of grammar, spelling, punctuation, and other characteristics of usage, it must be flawless.

In other circumstances, such as when submitting a complaint with the organisation, a more professional tone may be appropriate when drafting a letter to them.

You might find our Writing Styles page helpful. This section of our study skills section summarises the numerous writing styles that a student could encounter throughout their academic career.

The Characteristics of Formal and Informal Writing

When you look at something, you can tell whether it is written in a formal or informal manner based on numerous distinct elements of how it is written.

An informal writing style has the following major characteristics:

• Use of colloquial terms and language In terms of tone and content, informal writing is similar to a casual conversation. As a result, slang, figures of speech, incorrect grammar, and asides may be present.

• Speak in a conversational tone, as if you were chatting to your target audience personally (readers). Informal writing frequently takes the form of a conversation. The writer will frequently use the first person (I, us, and ours) to allude to himself or herself, as well as the reader directly in the second person (you and your).

• A strategy and organisational structure that is simple. Sentences and paragraphs are often shorter in informal writing, just as they are in casual speaking. This is especially true when it comes to internet writing. In addition, writers might express their points with ellipses (…) or missing words.

• Throughout the text, contractions and abbreviations are used. Words can be condensed or abridged in informal writing in the same way they are in conversation. As a result, this form of writing will use a lot more contractions (such I’m, doesn’t, couldn’t, and it’s) and abbreviations (like TV, photos) than other types of writing.

• Emotional and empathic feelings. A writer is more likely to demonstrate empathy for the reader’s situation via casual writing. They could, for example, provide a simple explanation of a more complicated concept. This is due to the more personal style inherent in informal writing, which is better suited for expressing emotions than formal writing.

The key characteristics of a formal writing style are as follows:

• A more complex structural design is required. In formal writing, longer sentences are commonly utilised. However, as individuals realise the importance of clarity, there is a progressive shift in this direction. Furthermore, formal writing will frequently adopt a more systematic approach, with topics being carefully introduced, explained, and summarised before being concluded. Written materials are frequently rigorously produced, updated, and reviewed multiple times for official reasons to ensure that they are as clear as possible and include all of the important parts.

• Adopting a methodical approach. The writer has a more objective perspective when writing in formal language. The primary points are usually stated first, followed by supporting arguments. Formal writing is less likely to have an emotional tone to it. As a result, it doesn’t use expressive punctuation like exclamation marks or ellipses unless they’re cited from another source, which is rare.

• Whole words should be used instead of contractions.

Contractions should not be used in official writing to make words simpler to grasp as a general rule. When using abbreviations for the first time, they should be written out completely. There are a few exceptions to this rule, such as when the acronym is more well-known than the full name (as with the BBC, ITV, or NATO) or when the acronym has become part of the vernacular (as with the United Nations) (for example, AIDS).

• When writing, use the third person. Formal writing differs from one’s personal writing style. The writer attempts to come across as uninterested in the topic. Employing the first person (I or us) or the second person (you or yours) is generally regarded as incorrect (you). However, there are a few exceptions to this rule (see box).

When Is It Appropriate to Combine Formal and Informal Writing?

A formal writing style does not have to be “better” or “worse” than a casual one to be labelled such.

There is a proper time and place for everyone. They serve completely different purposes. As a result, you should be cautious while choosing the most appropriate style to use. A number of factors may have an impact on your selection.

Two of the most significant factors to consider when selecting whether to employ a formal or informal writing styles are your target audience and the medium in which you will be writing.

As a result, you might find it useful to browse our pages. Recognize your target market and be familiar with your medium.

When writing for professional or career aims in general, a formal style is more likely to be necessary. On the other hand, if you’re writing to someone you know in person, you might be able to use a more casual tone.

Furthermore, compared to traditional paper-based contact, emails have a less professional tone. However, as more businesses come to rely only on email for all of their communications, this is beginning to change dramatically. As a result, you should avoid utilising “text talk” or overly informal language.


It’s best to err on the side of caution when deciding how professional your writing should be.

An excessive level of formality offends almost no one. On the other side, if you approach things too casually, you risk being taken advantage of.

Visit WritingLib for more informational blogs.

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