How to write an Informal Essay: All you Need to know

Formal and Informal Essay Writing

Formal and Informal Essay Writing

The two main writing styles are formal and informal. Professional writing needs a formal tone, whereas if the writing is casual you need to use an informal tone. There are also instances you can use both styles. Before using any of the tones you need to read the instructions.

The instructions might state whether to use a formal or informal tone. 

As a student, you have to take the instructions seriously, to avoid using the wrong writing style. It is crucial for your essay writing especially when aiming for a good grade.

You cannot afford to use the wrong tone. If your essay writing assignment needs you to sound professional, then use a formal tone. However, if it is suitable to personalize your essay, ensure you are conversational in your writing.

Formal vs Informal Essays in writing

Choosing the right language for your essay writing can be a challenge. That can be the case if you are unsure of the right tone to use. It is a problem that several students tend to struggle with. Choosing between formal and informal tone when it matters.

The two writing tones are different and are ideal for specific types of essays.

Formal and informal content

Every essay comes with a list of instructions. The instructions will depict whether to use an informal or formal writing style. You are free to choose the tone that suits you perfectly, where the instructions do not state which tone to use.

But you must note that formal writing is ideal if you want to sound professional. You can use it in writing a professional essay that requires you to cite sources and provide references.

Informal writing is perfect for conversational or personal essays. For instance, you are writing a college application essay where you intend to express yourself, then be casual. You have to let the admissions board know more about you. So, you have to tell your story. And that is why you need to adopt an informal tone.

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What is an informal essay?

An informal essay is a short piece of writing written as a response or reflection on something or as a personal statement. Informal essays are usually used to reflect on ideas, feelings, experiences, and thoughts.

If you are writing an informal essay to apply for a position, the same rules apply: it needs to be well-researched and include specific examples.

How to Write an Informal Essay

1. Brainstorm

Brainstorming is a way of getting ideas. Basically, it’s a technique for generating ideas when you have no idea what to write about. It’s also a way of breaking the ice when you meet someone for the first time. Here are some tips for brainstorming:

  • Write down as many ideas as you can think of in one sitting. Don’t stop writing until your brain is exhausted or you run out of space on your paper, and it looks like this:
  • Write down whatever comes into your head, even if it seems crazy or stupid. Writing things down helps them become clearer in your mind and gives them more structure to make sense when they are written down later.
  • Write everything down! Refrain from judging yourself harshly if some ideas don’t seem good enough. Keep going until you run out of space or until all the ideas feel too silly or weird to add to the list without making everyone feel uncomfortable at work tomorrow morning, which might happen.

2. Create an Outline

An outline is a kind of roadmap for your paper. It helps you see where you are going and how long it will take. An outline also enables you to focus on what you want to say and ensure that it is all there in one place.

Think about your topic and the different points you want to make. Then, create a simple outline of those points.

It can be a bulleted or numbered list, but it’s better if it’s both. The idea is that you’ll use this outline as a basis for writing your essay.

3. Construct a Thesis Statement

You can defend it in your conclusion, and it should be clear, concise, and specific. You may write a paragraph describing the thesis statement or develop it further; then, you will use this as the foundation for your argument development and final body paragraphs.

4. Write an Introduction

Your introduction also sets up any themes or arguments that might be used throughout the essay. If you want to talk about writing rules that apply to everyone, then this is the place to do it!

5. Write Body Paragraphs

Now that you have your outline, you can start writing! Write one paragraph at a time — don’t try to do too much at once, or you’ll run out of steam before you’re finished. Use your outline to help guide you through each step of the process.

6. Write Conclusion

You can now summarize your points in this section. You should not introduce any new ideas at this point. Just emphasize what you have been discussing in the main body.

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Instances to Use Formal Language in an Essay

Essay writing is not a task you need to approach without reading instructions. You need to know which tone you must use. If you ignore the instructions, you might use the wrong writing style. And that will cost you that grade you are yearning for.

Formal language is ideal for professional writing. A professional essay requires the use of researched knowledge. You have to embrace the use of references or citations. For such an essay you need to sound professional. That is why you must use formal language.

features of formal writing

Characteristics of Formal Writing

1. Use Third Person          

In formal writing, you ought to use the third person. Know the different personal pronouns for an essay. In this connection, you will use words such as her, his, theirs, and they.

You must avoid writing in a first person tone. Formal language brings some sense of seriousness to your essay. It shows that you did sufficient research before writing your essay. And for that reason, sounding professional will be a great idea.

2. Structured Essay 

With formal writing, you have no otherwise but to structure your essay. You need to have the introduction, body, and conclusion. Such a structure allows you to put your ideas together so that they flow seamlessly.

Besides, you can write longer sentences and paragraphs to give your points more clarity.

3. Objective in Approach

As a writer who intends to use formal language, you must take up an objective approach. You need to state your points and support them using arguments. But there is a catch. You should not use an emotional tone.

Do not use exclamations marks or ellipsis, unless you are citing a source.

4. Use Full Words

Lastly, with formal writing, you must use full words. You should not use contractions. Your essay needs to sound professional. Therefore, do not try to simplify it with abbreviations and contractions.

Do not give the tutor a hard time figuring out the meaning of the abbreviations or contractions present in your essay.

Instances to Use Informal Language In An Essay 

If you aim to personalize an essay, then using informal language is the right approach. It allows you to write in first person. You can tell your story to the admissions board; hence they will get to know more about it.

Such a language will be ideal when writing your college application essay.

If you want to write something casual, you can use informal language. Usually, there is no structure that you have to follow. So, you are free to write down your thoughts on a particular topic. It does save on time since you will be giving your opinion.

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Characteristics of Informal Writing

1. Colloquial Terms

Slang words

Informal writing has provisions for using slang, broken syntax, asides, and figures of speech. It gives you too much freedom in your essay writing.

You can take a simple approach to your essay writing. That means you can use shorter paragraphs and sentences.

2. Abbreviations and Contractions

Informal language allows you to use contractions and abbreviations. It is a chance that formal writing might not offer you. But with informal writing, you can use the short form of words.

But just ensure you do not overuse the abbreviations and contractions. Some of the short words can complicate your essay to a point that the reader or tutor may not understand your message.

3. Show Emotion and Empathy

It is easier to show emotion and empathy using informal language than being formal. So, if you want to write an essay where emotions are high, then use informal language.

You can easily describe an empathetic scene that the reader of the essay will easily feel.

How to Combine Formal and Informal tones in Essay Writing

Essay writing is an undertaking that requires you to be attentive and careful. Be sure of which writing style suits the essay writing task at hand. You can either learn that from the instructions or guidance from your tutor.

Combining formal and informal writing

You can opt for a formal or informal writing style. But also, there are times whereby you can use both formal and informal tones.

If you are writing a professional essay then you must use formal writing. Where the essay needs to be conversational or casual, you can use an informal writing style.

You can also use both tones if the instructions on the essay do not specify which tone to use. At that juncture, you are free to combine both styles of writing.

An essay that needs to sound casual and professional will require you to use both tones.

For since if you have to incorporate direct speech or quotes in your professional essay, you have to use both formal and informal tone. However, ensure you use them with care so that you do not distort your message.

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A professional essay requires the use of a formal tone. You need to write in the third person. Besides, you must ensure you stay away from using contractions and abbreviations.

Since it is an essay that needs citation and references, you must ensure you write words in full and use longer sentences. The aim is to provide your points and support them to ensure clarity.

On the other hand, informal writing is more casual. You must sound conversational. And that is why you need to write in a personal tone to express your emotions.

You do not have to write long sentences, since casual writing requires a simple structure. Also, you can use both formal and informal tones without interfering with the flow of your ideas in the essay.