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Formal writing style
Updated over a week ago

Academic writing is a form of formal writing. This is because academic writing usually takes place in a serious environment. It is in contrast to an informal writing style, which is typically used in casual environments and in spoken language.

The characteristics of a formal writing style typically include the use of the standard variety of the language in which you write, more complex sentence structures, deliberate vocabulary, and the lack of colloquial or slang language.

Why should I use a formal writing style?

To enable academics and scientists to easily read through each other’s work, and focus on content rather than language, there are specific conventions the writer should follow. One of these conventions is a formal writing style.

You should write in a formal style for your assignments so that you can establish your credibility as an academic writer.

The Formal writing style criterion currently consists of the following checks: avoid contractions and avoid starting a sentence with coordinating conjunctions.

Avoid contractions

Contractions are the shortened versions of words that omit certain sounds or letters. In English, contractions are usually represented with an apostrophe (’). For example, you are can be contracted as you’re.

Since contractions are usually used to make speech faster and easier to say, they are associated with informal, conversational language.

How do I avoid contractions?

Avoid contractions by writing all words in their complete forms. If you are not sure how to do that, see below for some examples.

Contracted forms

Complete forms

The results aren’t valid

The results are not valid

He’s makin’ a graph

He is making a graph

What’s the question

What is the question

Here’s the analysis

Here is the analysis

Avoid starting a sentence with coordinating conjunctions

Coordinating conjunctions are words that connect words and clauses that are equal to each other. The seven most commonly used coordinating conjunctions in English are: for (when showing reason), and, nor, but, or, yet, so.

Because the function of coordinating conjunctions is to connect linguistic elements, they should not start a sentence.

How do I avoid starting a sentence with coordinating conjunctions?

Avoid using coordinating conjunctions at the start of a sentence by connecting the sentence to the previous one using a comma. Alternatively, omit the coordinating conjunction.

Automated Feedback can help you avoid using contractions and starting a sentence with coordinating conjunctions correctly.

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