WRITE your way to success (2)

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Besides paragraphing, another important notion that you should be aware of when solving a Writing Task is Register or Style. Form a linguistic point of view, the Oxford Dictionary defines Register as a variety of a language or a level of usage, as determined by degree of formality and choice of vocabulary, pronunciation, and syntax, according to the communicative purpose, social context, and standing of the user.

In simple terms, Register defines they way your text will sound like if you read it out loud. Does it sound like a chat with you friends? Then, the register is Informal. If it sounds like a conversation you would have with a teacher at school, the register you used is rather Formal. And finally, if what you have written sounds like a discussion with a “Shakespeare School Teacher”, most certainly, you employed a Semi-formal style, which a little bit of both of the previously mentioned. Here is an example of how you can use three different registers to express the same message:

I should appreciate it if you would make less noise.

Please, be quiet!

Zip it!

After reading the examples, it is probably easy for you guess which style is which, right?

Formal Register is usually required in academic writing, in compositions such as an argumentative essay, a job application, a report, an official letter or a research paper. Register is also determined by the choice of Grammatical constructions and Vocabulary. In a formal piece of writing you are expected to use The Passive Voice, The If Conditional, complex phrases and elevated vocabulary.

By contrast, Informal Register implies the use of Contractions(short forms), phrasal verbs, short simple sentences, and it is used in notes, emails or messages you send to your friends or family. Here are a few examples:

Formal Informal
Contractions: should not shouldn”t
Phrasal verbs: observe look at
Vocabulary: obtain get

Finally, the Semiformal style combines the formal and the informal into a type of writing which is polite, and friendly. Just as with the informal, the semiformal style can be used in letters, descriptions or stories.

What are you going to write next? Here is our dare: participate in Shakespeare School Essay Competition 2014 and you can become the lucky winner of a 2-week summer camp to the UK!  

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