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Essay writing guide: maintaining formality

Writing an essay is an art that is possible to learn. It does not require any inborn talent. It simply requires learning a few skills. Every essay can be written following the same formula, from the introductory paragraph to body paragraphs to the concluding paragraph. Even the paragraphs have a set formula. While the formulas are rather easy to remember and use, many people have difficulty with the challenge of maintaining formality as they write.

What is Formal Language?

When students are instructed to maintain formality in their essays, many students have no idea what that means. Formal language includes:

Common Mistakes: Informal Language

Most of the mistakes that students make involve the language they use and the sentences they develop. Students often writing claims that begin, “In my essay, I will…,” which is an example of informal language. It is also considered directly addressing the audience. So many students think they can write the way that they speak, so they use the pronoun “you” in sentences like, “Have you ever wondered about….?” Considering that essay writers do not know who will be reading their essays, using “you” is considered informal and inappropriate for an academic essay.

Avoid Text Language

Students also make many mistakes when they write with text language. Teachers get very irritated when students use texting shorthand and include examples like “ur” or “u.” They understand that many students do not even realize that they are including informal language like this, but students should be aware that it is completely inappropriate to include text lingo in a formal essays.

Do Not Give a Speech

Many students also write as if they are giving a speech. In most speeches, it is acceptable to address because the audience is right in front of the speaker. But, when writing, the audience is unknown, making it only appropriate to use third-person pronouns and an occasional first-person pronoun. Otherwise, “you” should only be used if it happens to be in a direct quote that the writer is using.

Read Good Examples

Students who are unfamiliar with what professional, formal language should look like should read more books. Non-fiction books and articles are the best examples of formal language. When it comes to writing, most people become better at it when they read examples that emulate the style they are supposed to be writing.

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