What makes formal writing difficult? 3 things – formal language, organisation and logic. Here are 3 ideas on how to deal with them.
1. Templates (organisation)
Templates will make your life easier.
What is a template? It is a sample text of a particular type that has some essential elements already in place, such as layout and expressions, which can serve as a model or pattern.
Here’s a memo template from my ebook StanagExpert Writing 3 TOOLKIT
MEMORANDUM SUBJECT: ... Paragraph 1 The purpose of this memorandum is to...(introduce the topic) Let me start by... (first point) Paragraph 2 (second point) Next,... Moreover,... Another matter (that needs)... Paragraph 3 (third point) Finally,... Therefore,... Consequently,... Taking the above into consideration,...
2. Formal style and language
The exam texts need to be written in the formal style. There are some differences between formal and informal elements of a text and it’s necessary to avoid mixing them in your writing.
- no contractions
- impersonal language
- full sentences
- complex sentences
- full words and phrases
- passive voice
- linking words and signposts
Although the solution has many advantages, it is also characterised by a few drawbacks.
- personal, friendly
- broken syntax
- simple, short sentences
- informal abbreviations, e.g ASAP
- active voice
- simple conjunctions and signposts
The solution has many advantages.
It is characterised by some drawbacks, too.
FORMAL SYNONYMS OF COMON WORDS
It’s also advisable to use varied vocabulary, replace common verbs (be) with their stronger, active synonyms, and common adjectives (good, bad) with their more sophisticated equivalents, where possible. A variety of grammatical forms is also encouraged.
The above fragment comes from the StanagExpert Writing 3 TOOLKIT (e-book) which contains a table with 100+ formal equivalents of common words.
3. Linking words (logic)
Linking words connect ideas, sentences and clauses (parts of sentences). They show how parts of the text are related with each other.
Use linking words to make your writing logical, easy to follow and well-organised. They help the reader follow your way of thinking and understand what you mean. They make your writing clearer and easier to follow.
It’s required to use them in formal writing which is characterised by complex sentences. We make complex sentences by combing clauses with the use of linking words (although, despite).
Linking words have various functions. The function shows how ideas, clauses or sentences are connected with each other.
The StanagExpert Writing 3 TOOLKIT contains a list of 100 linking words + examples.