When writing formally (an academic paper, a scientific paper, a business letter), there are certain rules that the writer should follow. Note that these are guidelines and some writers will break these rules.
When writing your paper, try to…
- Avoid contractions (don’t, can’t, I’m, haven’t)
- write out the full contraction
- Example: I cannot speak Russian. He does not know who wants it.
- Avoid slang (ain’t, gotta, I got a headache)
- do not use informal slang; use the formal word
- Example: I got have a headache. I gotta have to go to school
- Avoid idioms (break the ice, on shaky ground, piece of cake)
- do not use idioms; use the exact word
- Example: This is a piece of cake = This is easy.
- Avoid phrasal verbs (verb + prepositions – put off = postpone, go back = return,
- instead of using a phrasal verb, use one word verbs
- Example: My parents brought me up = My parents raised
- Example: I need to cut down on sugar = I need to reduce
- Avoid starting a sentence with conjunctions
- an easy way to remember this rule is avoid ‘FANBOYS’ (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so)
|For||For I am a high school student, therefore I cannot drink alcohol.
This is an uncommon one, this ‘for’ acts like ‘because’
|And||And I don’t like beer.|
|Nor||Nor do I like soju.|
|But||But I can work hard when I have time.|
|Or||Or you can come tomorrow if you have free time.|
|Yet||Yet many people still cheat despite the consequences.|
|So||So I will finish work when I complete all my jobs.|
|And||Furthermore, In addition, Additionally,|
|But||However, Despite this,|
|Or||Either, Conversely, On the other hand,|
|Yet||In spite of, Although Nevertheless,|
|So||Therefore As a result,|
- Avoid incomplete sentences
- make sure your sentence is a complete idea
- Ex: Because I am hungry – is an incomplete sentence, change to: I ate early because I am hungry.
What you need to CAPITALIZE when writing
|The first letter in a sentence||Books are now on sale at the bookstore.|
|The pronoun “I”||She went to the store but I didn’t go|
|Countries||New Zealand is next to Australia but still far away from Korea|
|Cities, counties, districts||I lived in Buk-gu in Gwangju
My parents live in Yongbong-dong in Gwangju
|Names of people||Many people have heard the name Abraham Lincoln before|
|Names of people||Shakespearian literature, Freudian psychology,|
|Nationalities||Koreans are similar to Chinese like Canadians are similar to Americans|
|Companies and brand names||I would like to get a job at Samsung
My shoes were made by Nike
I worked for 3 years at Kids English Academy
|Person’s title||Mr. Ms. Dr.
Professor Smith, Vice Principal Lee, President Park
the Queen of England, the Prince of Saudi Arabia
usually the title will be before a name or place
|Mom and Dad (when taking the place of mom and dad)||Steve says he will meet Mom at the store (Mom replaces her name so capital M)
We all have moms (this can be lower case)
|Schools, colleges and universities||He graduated from Chonnam Boys Middle School
Next year I expect to graduate from Chonnam National University
|Weekdays, Months||Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday
January, February, March, April, May, October, November, December
|Special events||Universiade was in July. The Olympics will be in 2018.|
|Mountains, mountain ranges, hills and volcanoes||Halla-san and Baek-du san are two of the highest mountains in Korea.
Mount Everest is the highest mountain in the world.
|Bodies of water (oceans, lakes, rivers, seas)||Lake Ontario, the Nile River, the Han River, the Black Sea, the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean|
|Buildings, monuments, bridges||tthe Eiffel Tower, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Titanic,|
|Name of a street||Main Street, Smith Road, Washington Boulevard|
|Continents and regions||New England, the Midwest
North America, South America, Asia, Africa, Europe, Antarctica
|Planets||Mercury, Venus, the Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune|
|Historical periods||the Second World War, the Korean War, the American Revolution, the Enlightenment, the Dark Ages, the Jurassic Era|
|God’s name||Do you believe in God?|
Chonnam National University
Chonnam national university OR University of Chonnam
the Department of English and Language Literature
I’m studying math, science and English language and literature. The Department of English Language and Literature is closed today.
Formal vs Informal Writing (continued)
- Avoid phrasal verbs – take out, go up, leave out, stop by
|take out, get rid of||remove, delete||fill in||complete|
|turn on||start||cut down on||reduce, decrease|
|stop by||visit||point out||show|
|leave out||omit, delete||bring about||raise, consider|
|go up||increase||hand in||submit|
|go down||decrease||make up||create|
|set up||establish||think about||consider, contemplate|
|find out||discover||show up||appear|
|put off||postpone||pass away||die|
2. If there’s a one-word equivalent, it’s better to use it.
|get in touch with||contact|
|It’s about…||It concerns… It is in regards to…|
|need to …||required…|
|I think …||in my opinion…|
|Can you send me your resume?||I was wondering if you could send me your resume?|
3. Formal vs Informal Vocabulary
- Transitions, adverbs, conjunctions
|anyway||nevertheless||lots of||many, much, a lot of|
|plus, also||moreover, furthermore,
|so||therefore, thus||in the end||finally, in conclusion|
|ASAP||as soon as possible,
at your earliest convenience
|ok, okay, all right||acceptable||at first||initially|
|in the meantime||in the interim||mostly||principally|
|Hi Robert,||Dear Sir or Madam,
Dear Mr. Smith
|Just wanted to let you know…||I am writing to inform you…|
|Cheers, Love,||Sincerely, Regards,|
|Hope to hear from you soon…||I look forward to hearing from you…|
|You can call me if you need anything…||Please do not hesitate to contact me…|
|Hello there…||To whom it may concern…|
|By the way…||In addition…|
Request Answer positively Answer negatively
|Can I borrow your eraser?||Sure.
Here you go.
|Sorry, I don’t have one.
Sorry, I’m using it right now.
|Could you give me a ride home?||No problem.
|I can’t. I’m really busy tonight.|
|Would you buy me a coffee?||Okay.
|I’m sorry but I’m broke.
I have no money.
|May I use your cell phone?||Sure, here you go.
|Sorry, but I don’t have a cell phone.|
|Would you like to see a movie with me?||Sure, I’d love to.
That sounds great.
|I’d like to but…
I’d like to but I have a test tomorrow
|Would you mind opening the window?||No, not at all.
|I’d rather not.
Sorry, but not now.
|Would you mind giving me a call tonight?||Yeah, for sure.
Yeah, that’s no problem.
|I can’t. I’m sorry.
I don’t think I can. Sorry.
Writing tips – Ways to improve your English Writing
What to capitalize in your title (everything but prepositions, articles, conjunctions)