A formal essay is a type of writing that includes not only essays, but letters, reports, and job applications written in a formal style with the usage of a strong vocabulary. In a formal essay, all rules of punctuation and grammar are observed. Essays of this style are specific, focused on facts, and include a standard, template language.
An informal essay is a type of essay written more for enjoyment with the use of vivid expressions and abbreviations. Grammar rules and punctuation are not always strictly observed.
How to Write a Formal Essay – Structure
The structure of a formal essay is standard and consists of the following parts:
- Title – the name of the essay, reflecting the theme of the narrative.
- Introduction – 2-4 short sentences that cover the topic of the essay.
- The main body – 2-3 paragraphs, describing the essence of the work. In them, you need to fully and competently open the topic, give arguments, and argue them.
- Conclusion – 2-4 sentences summarizing everything that has been said before. In this part, you make a general conclusion on the topic of the essay.
Each of the paragraphs in the main part of the essay begin with an introductory sentence (topic sentence); this is the “introduction” to the paragraph. Subsequent sentences develop and confirm the thought expressed in the topic sentence.
Steps for Writing a Formal Essay
- Choose a topic. Basically, there are two options here: you are assigned a topic by the teacher, or you choose a topic on your own. If you need to come up with your own topic, then find the one that will be the most interesting to you. Of course, it’s a formal essay and, probably, you will not be allowed to write an essay on all enjoyable themes, but, nevertheless, you should like the subject.
- Write a thesis statement. It should be your opinion or claim that presents the main idea of your essay. It should answer the question that you state in your paper. Usually, a thesis statement is included in the first paragraph of your essay – the introduction.
- Write an introduction. How to write a formal essay introduction in the right manner? It should consist of brief information about what you are going to write in the body paragraphs. Don’t forget to include a thesis statement in the last sentence of the introduction. Make this part interesting to grab the reader’s attention and make them read further.
- Write body paragraphs. Each point or idea that you want to present in your essay should be disclosed in a new single paragraph. The first sentence of each body paragraph should be a topic sentence. The body paragraphs should address the thesis statement that you have presented in the introduction.
- Write a conclusion. Don’t include any new information in this section. You should show that the thesis statement was proven fully. If you look at the introduction that you have composed, it will be easier for you to write a conclusion.
How to Write a Formal Essay – Example
If you have to write a formal essay, the first thing you should do is read through our sample on the vision of Seoul. In case you don’t know how to start writing, an example of an essay is what you need. The more samples you read, the more understanding of how you need to complete your own paper you will have. So, check out our example to get some useful ideas.
The Vision of Seoul
Seoul as we know it now is a product of many historical changes of the past. Ever since the rule of the Joseon Dynasty, Seoul remains the capital and the hub of South Korea. Many architectural miracles can be found on the streets of this city narrating its history. Even its dynamic advancement in the financial, social, and engineering spheres that can be seen from the exponentially growing skyline cannot conceal the cultural property scattered through the metropolis. Enveloped by nature, Seoul combines scenic landscapes encircled by mountains, rivers, and forests with high-tech elements that could only be imagined recently in science fiction literature. The duality of new and old, artificial and natural, and modern and traditional makes it a one-of-a-kind location and catch the eye of the outside world.
The location of the most important city in the country was not chosen spontaneously. The spot was picked according to the tradition of feng shui that Joseon rulers were adhering to. This principle states that a place should be organized according to the flow of energy. The area encircled by the wonders of nature was a perfect location to settle (Seoul Architecture Guide 22). The traditionalism and closed off condition of the country experienced a change after the beginning of the Empire of Korea. General Westernization had begun with the new foreign policy which opened it for trade and other relations with Europe and the United States. Economy, law, education, the military system, and many other frameworks were modified to fit in with the new counterparts (Seoul Architecture Guide 24). However, the remains of the past are still evident as, for example, some parts of the Hanyangdoseong, or Seoul City Wall, that encircled the city earlier still stand to reflect the heritage.
Not long after, Korea was occupied by Japanese forces. This period brought many changes that helped the country to advance, but also played a role in oppressing cultural peculiarities and the Korean language. The transformation of Seoul included the improvement of the transport system and adaptation to a bigger population (Seoul Architecture Guide 25). These changes led to the extension of the banks of the Hangang and swift reconstruction of the surrounding districts. The scenery of the biggest river in Seoul has become one of the most popular destinations for citizens and tourists alike. The metropolis as we see it now is the result of its fast capability to adjust and cater to the needs of its population. Growing numbers of the city residents had increased the differences between the groups. It came to the point where metropolitan inhabitants mixed with the farmers and other types of rural populations, creating a special cultural mix specific to Seoul.
Even when Korea was closed off, the impact of its neighbors, mainly China and Japan, was immense on the culture and the spoken and written language. However, after the start of the open policy, a more diversified population was at the heart of Korea. Their traditions and beliefs shaped the Korean culture as we know it now. Language is a good reflection of such developments. One of the major events for the Korean language was a start of the official usage of Hangul instead of Chinese characters (Sang-Hun and Torchia 6). This event had helped in distinguishing it as a separate and independent member of the Asian languages. Even with the new type of writing, a prominent feature of their language that remains is the use of idioms. They reflect the gradual development of some significant events in the history. After the years of famine, the topic of food is a frequent subject in conversation (Sang-Hun and Torchia 10). To ask if a person had eaten was a genuine worry that now has become a standard greeting with a polite concern. The customs live on in the society, although they get changed due to the external factors that the country experiences. Same as how the rising population affected the features of culture, living conditions were also influenced.
The overpopulation problem was resolved almost instantaneously. New areas were restructured and used to house the assorted selection of the new city residents. One of the most popular recently developed regions that many people are aware of is Gangnam. The seventies were a booming period for Seoul reconstruction; with the new district standing tall, the city became as we can see it now, divided into north (Gangbuk) and south (Gangnam) areas (Seoul Architecture Guide 27). Today, Samseong-Dong is one of the most esteemed and affluent locations in Gangnam and the whole of Seoul; business, leisure, and housing estates are all available there. With a heap of high-end stores, prestigious hotels and restaurants, and extravagant night clubs, it is a significant spot that shows the development of the city (Marshall). The rapid transformation of the territories had created a town like no other. Even though its history as a capital began in the fourteenth century, it is filled with modern technology and does not stop even now. Improvement is one of the key principles followed in the process. This is the reason why Seoul is so filled with parks.
Having to live in a metropolitan city like Seoul, people get tired of the constant buzzing of the millions of others that surround them every day on the way to work, eat, relax, or sleep. The exhaust fumes resulting from the high levels of gas pollution is an everyday occurrence for Seoulites, which makes them wear masks. In order to escape the troubles, the usual alternative is an evening spent in nature (Marshall). Due to the beneficial situation, the city is enclosed by mountains, forests, and rivers. In case a traveler is feeling as to get on with their inner state and relax outdoors, the opportunities are multiple. However, there are also many variants for those who do not want to waste time on the trip; the amount of parks is enormous and increases as time goes by. The choice can be rather hard because of the surprising number of them. The nature in Seoul is worth a separate mention due to the way that the city takes care of its condition. When taking a look at the map of the city, green patches can be seen all over it, constituting a big part of the Seoulite life.
Seoul is a one-of-a-kind city. Everything is different about it for the Western onlookers. Even though Koreans have experienced fascination with Western culture, the increasing interest in the unique fusion of its original features amalgamated with traditions is much closer to their ideals. However, underneath the novelty and pursuit of the different, the soul of the old Seoul can be spotted. With antique architecture and a distinct mood, this city is a perfect example of advancement in everything without losing identity.
Marshall, Colin. “An Urbanist’s Tour of South Korea: A Glimpse into the Future of World Cities.” The Guardian, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2014/jul/14/an-urbanists-tour-of-south-korea-a-glimpse-into-the-future-of-world-cities. Accessed 21 Aug. 2018.
Sang-Hun, Choe, and Christopher Torchia. Looking for a Mr. Kim in Seoul. Master Communications, Inc., 2007.
Seoul Architecture Guide. 길잡이미디어, 2015.
Differences Between Formal and Informal Essays
If you compare two essays that are identical in content, but written in different styles, then the informal one will be shorter. Do you know why? Because the formal style often involves the use of longer words. Unlike the informal style, phrasal verbs are not used in the formal style, except those that can not be replaced by a longer equivalent. The same should be done with nouns: if you have a choice between a simplified word and it’s longer, technical variant when writing a formal essay, choose the longer one.
In the informal style for writing essays, the use of active voice prevails over the use of passive. Informal essays are more personalized, while formal essays speak about facts.
A characteristic feature of the informal style is a first-person appeal, with the use of “I.” An informal style makes it possible to improvise, and a formal style is more structured with a particular template. Typical for the formal style is the use of the pronoun “we.”
Slang expressions are not used in the formal style. The same goes for most idiomatic expressions. Formal style uses the language of specifics and a formal vocabulary, so the use of slang is unacceptable.
An informal style, along with slang expressions, allows the use of abbreviated forms of verbs “to be,” “have,” “has,” “would,” “will,” and others as well: “I’m,” “we’ve,” “he’s,” and so on. In the formal style, no abbreviations are ever used, as all forms must be written completely: “I am,” “we have,” “he is,” “they will,” “she would,” and so on.
- Specific appeals and impersonal structures
Formal essays are impersonal, and are not addressed to anyone. Imperative constructions in formal essays are replaced by passive ones.
As you can see, formal and informal styles are radically different from each other. Thus, when starting to write a formal or informal essay, remember the differences in the formatting, and follow the vocabulary, grammar, and other language tools so that your essay maintains one consistent style.
How to Write a Formal Letter Essay: Phrases to Use
The peculiarity of writing a formal essay is that it is necessary to use certain common phrases. And in this article, more complex formal expressions are collected, which are used mainly in formal essays and allow you to get a high grade. Let’s look at them. Let’s start with the phrases, with which you can:
- Express disagreement with a given topic or some statement. “It would seem that …”
- Contest the point of view or statement. “It could be argued that …”
- Give an additional argument in favor of your opinion. “This supports the idea that …”
- Express partial agreement with this or that statement. “It must be acknowledged that
- …”Summarize everything that you wrote about earlier. “In view of all that has been mentioned so far, one may suppose that …”
We examined various formal phrases that you can use to express your opinion in an essay. Reading through the next section you will learn how to express your opinion if you have already substantiated it. To make the text structured and logical, it is important to first give arguments and evidence, and then express your point of view. Below you will find phrases with which you can do it.
– “This suggests that …” Instead of “this,” it is possible to give the results of the conducted studies. For example, data from surveys of public opinion (a survey) or statistics (statistical evidence).
– “This proves that …”
– “It leads to the conclusion that …”
– “It can thus be suggested/assumed that …”
– “It follows from the above that …”
Knowledge of formal expressions is useful not only when writing academic essays and passing exams, but also in many other life situations. After all, sometimes simple phrases and a vulgar style are unacceptable, and their use can spoil the opinion about you.
Review and Editing of a Formal Essay
It is very important to reread an essay several times after finishing it, even if you do not have to correct much. If you feel that you can’t find all of your mistakes (finding errors in your own text is more difficult), read the text to an outsider. Getting a friend’s help, especially if he or she is a linguist, allows you to identify a significant percentage of poorly constructed sentences, as well as many grammatical and logical errors.
Note: you can dictate an essay to a sound recorder and listen to it. Often, in this way, it is possible to detect the inconsistency of grammatical constructions or inconsistencies in the logical course of things. Be sure to use spelling in a text editor, but do not forget to read the text yourself. For example, Microsoft Word sometimes misses curious mistakes that can greatly spoil the impression of your essay.
If you are not sure about something, look in the dictionary. And one more useful trick: before you finish the work, put it off for a couple of hours (even better, for a day), then return to it with a fresh look. This is another reason why you should start writing essays in advance, having enough time in reserve.
Formal essay writing will be much easier for you if you use our guide as your helper. Take advantage of our tips and recommendations and you will be able to write a quality paper. You will be able to write a great essay if you use not only a guide, but the samples presented on our blog. Improve your writing skills with our help – good luck with your writing!
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