3 Ways to Make Your Writing Formal and Objective | Writing
Think about what you would wear to a summer backyard party and what you would wear to a job interview. The two styles are contrasting, right?
Now think about how you would write a text message to your friend and how you would write a letter to your professor. Again, the two styles vary greatly.
Today we will discuss how to make your writing formal and objective. You should use this style of writing when you are:
- Writing a resume or cover letter
- Communicating with your boss, professor, or clients via email
- Writing an academic paper or essay
- Writing a letter of recommendation
- Applying for a scholarship
A formal and objective tone communicates respect and sincerity to an audience. Follow these three tips from Randy Rambo at Illinois Valley Community College to achieve a formal and objective tone in your writing for the TASC Test Assessing Secondary Completion™:
1. Refrain from using first-person pronouns.
First-person pronouns – such as “I,” “me,” “we,” “us,” etc. – can:
- Clutter your writing with unnecessary words
- Make your thoughts come across as passive
- Attribute an informal tone to your writing
Eliminating first-person pronouns will communicate confidence and strengthen your writing.
- Informal tone: I believe the client requested a due date of Tuesday.
- Formal and objective tone: The client requested a due date of Tuesday.
2. Spell out contractions and abbreviations.
Contractions – or words that use apostrophes in place of letters – will give your writing an informal tone. Examples of contractions include: “we’d,” “you’d,” “he’s,” etc. The same is true for abbreviations, such as dept. for department and TV for television.
- Informal tone: You’d be surprised at the number of scholarships I’ve applied for.
- Formal and objective tone: I have applied for nine scholarships.
- Informal tone: Meet in front of the TV.
- Formal and objective tone: The board meeting will be held in front of the television.
3. Steer clear of using slang expressions.
Slang and colloquial diction – the use of common, everyday words that are informal and could have an impolite meaning attached – should be left out of your professional writing. Slang words and expressions include:
- “Hey there!” or “Hi guys!”
- “Ya know?”
- “That’s so chill.”
- “He was geeking out.”
- Informal tone: She is so chill under pressure.
- Formal and objective tone: She remains composed in stressful situations.