How to make your essays and reports sound more formal

Your essays and reports should be written in a formal and academic style.

Here are some smart strategies you can employ to make your writing sound more academic.

Use tentative language

Assertive language sounds less formal and hence it should be avoided. Instead use tentative language. One way of using tentative language is to include expressions like ‘probably’ and ‘possibly’. You can use them before noun phrases and verbs.

Examples are given below:

Global warming is possibly caused by an increase in the emission of carbon dioxide.

Heredity is probably the most important factor that determines a person’s chances of getting cancer.

The modal verbs may and might also make you sound less assertive.

Parents may be the best teachers for their children.

Avoid the adverbs always and every. Instead use often and much / many.

Many people believe that the internet should be regulated.

Use formal vocabulary. For example, write ‘obtain’ instead of ‘get’.

Limit the use of phrasal verbs. Write ‘tolerate’ instead of ‘put up with’.

Begin sentences with preparatory it and there.

There are several benefits to living on one’s own.

It seems that there are several benefits to living on one’s own.

Limit the use of personal pronouns. For example, you can use ‘one’ instead of ‘you’.

One may ask if the internet should be regulated.

Do not use rhetorical questions in your essay.

‘Unrestricted access to the internet may affect the normal development of young children. But is regulating it such a good idea after all?’

You may rewrite this passage as follows:

‘Unrestricted access to the internet may affect the normal development of young children. However, regulating it does not seem to be such a good idea.’

The connectors

The connector ‘besides’ is informal. Limit its use. The connectors ‘moreover’ and ‘furthermore’ too should be used with care. Both expressions mean that the information that follows them is more important than the information that preceded them.

Instead of ‘moreover and ‘furthermore’, you can use the connectors ‘in addition’ and ‘also’. They give equal importance to both sentences.

Internet addiction may affect your work. It may also affect your relationships.

Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I'm Manjusha. This is my blog where I give IELTS preparation tips.

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