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Tips for formal writing

Writing assumes many categories. Formal writing is one category. It entails: academic writing, formal letters and business writing. It is governed by certain rules and regulations that should be adhered to. Below are tips for formal writing.

Use concise language

The language used in formal writing impacts on the understanding levels of readers. The language should be straightforward so that information is interpreted as it should be. Concise language ensures that reader are able to quickly comprehend the goal of writing. Literary devices such as exaggeration, imagery and metaphors should not be used in formal writing.

Have a clear goal

Formal writing does not offer space for deviations or integration of multiple topics as is the case in informal writing. It aims at conveying a clear goal right from the start to the end. When clarity is observed in writing, the goal is well communicated. In academic writing, a thesis statement asserts the specific goal that a research paper aims to fulfill.

Use words that are familiar to you

Using unnecessary complex words or vocabulary does not add any value to any category of formal writing. In fact, more harm than good is done making formal writing appear unpleasant. You should stick to words whose meaning is to the full of knowledge.

Brevity must be upheld

Express information in the simplest way possible. The use of short and simple sentences is the key to brevity. Writers should avoid the temptation to use too many words. It makes formal writing appear less formal. For example, the remedy to cancer is the use of vitamin supplements to aid in its prevention and treatment is not suitable sentence. This sentence is very long and to some extent ambiguous. Instead, it should be expressed as: vitamin supplements are the remedy to cancer prevention and treatment.

Use a third person point of view

This makes formal writing objective and increases a writer’s confidence. Using first person point of view-I am of the opinion… makes writing both informal and unconvincing. There are exceptions in formal writing which require a first person point of view. If you are writing a formal letter seeking employment, you will have to use the first person mode in some instances. This also applies when writing an academic paper that requires your personal input.

Use the non-contracted form of words

The key aim in this tip is to refrain from using contractions. Contractions represent a shortened version of words. The contracted words replace specific letters with apostrophes. Words that are commonly contracted include: will not-won’t, cannot-can’t. Although the contracted words rarely alter the meaning of the original words, they make writing less formal. A writer should look out for contractions in an article and get rid of them. Using tools such as the find and replace option available in Microsoft Word writing software is an effective way of completely eliminating contractions in formal writing.

Use correct punctuation and spelling


Formal writing is greatly dictated by punctuation and spelling. To be certain that formal writing is perfectly punctuated, proofreading and editing must be done. Finally, accruing information about formal writing principles leads to a quality writing process. The tips discussed in this article will support writers in their quest to become proficient in formal writing. Apart from these tips, writers should find out what other tips enhance competence in formal writing.