Some notes about formal writing styles

by Cindy

Task 2 of an IELTS test requires to be written in formal style in which you should use:

  • Passive voice, impersonal constructions
    • It is argued that...; It cannot be denied that...
  • A range of advanced vocabulary (verbs, adjectives, abstract nouns...)
  • Formal linking words/phrases
    • Furthermore, however, nonetheless...
  • Complex sentences with a variety of links, dependent clauses...
    • Although...which...
  • Inversion
    • Were this true, we would...; Never has this been more obvious...; Only if...
  • Generalisations
    • In most developing countries...

And you should avoid:

  • Short forms (abbreviations):
    • I'm, It's...
  • Colloquial expressions, phrasal verbs, idioms
    • Lots of, put up with, be over the moon about...
  • Simplistic vocabulary
    •  Think, good, bad, say...
  • Short sentences
    • It is true. I think so...
  • Repeated simple linking words
    • And, but, or...
  • Personal examples
    • In my school, in my office...
  • Strong personal opinions
    • I know...
  • Over generalisations
    • All people, all teachers...
  • Very emotional language
    • I absolutely detest...

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