A note on formality. 

by | Aug 9, 2019 | Speaking, Writing

A note on formality. Learn how to speak/write more formally.

IELTS Candidates may lose a lot of scores simply because they do not speak or write formally. Listen to this 2-minute podcast to avoid this common mistake.


Today’s topic is:  Formal or Informal?

This could be a problematic issue in writing essays for IELTS learners.

Let’s compare these two sentences. They have the same meaning but they’re quite different. Can you guess how?

•  She instructed the man to board the aircraft.

•  She told him to get on the plane.

Yes, the former is formal register and the latter is informal and said by an adolescent. It’s important to know formal register since writing task 2 of IELTS must be written in that way.

So, firstly don’t use informal vocabulary like:

Don’t write Write
kids children
wanna want to
dude friend
bucks dollar

Secondly, don’t use contractions.

“It’s” should be “it is”

“can’t” should change to “cannot”

Furthermore, because essay topics should be discussed globally, avoid overusing the first person pronoun ‘I’. It would make your writing too informal. Instead use, “one” or “you”.

For example:

•  Pausing too long in the speaking test gives the idea that one does not understand the question completely.

Lastly, use capital letters only when appropriate. E.g. at the beginning of a sentence or for days of the week or peoples’ names and titles. Do not write everything in capitals!



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About the Author

About the Author

CEO and Co-founder of Juice Academy

Mehdi Safavi is a Cambridge certified English teacher (CELTA Grade A), IDP-trained IELTS expert, Sussex Downs College TESOL with 17+ years of teaching & teacher training experience. More about him →


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