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Formal versus informal language

Different types of writing require different levels of formality. A report is generally an analysis, evaluation or description based on research. Reports are generally written in a formal style.

What makes something formal?

Formal Informal
  • Use of passive voice
  • Few personal pronouns
  • Neutral verbs are used, ie non-emotive verbs
  • Use of active voice
  • Use of personal pronouns, eg. I, you, we
  • Verbs that show feelings, eg I think, we feel, I am pleased

Activity 1


Active versus passive voice



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