Write Formally and Objectively

Contributor: Heather Cameron. Lesson ID: 13858

"I dig your threads!"
"She was dressed exquistely for the banquet."
Which sounds more formal? Which is objective? Understanding the difference is important in your writing.



English / Language Arts
learning style
personality style
Grade Level
High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Skill Sharpener

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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Think about what you would wear to prom.

  • What does your outfit look like?

Maybe you imagined yourself in a dashing black tuxedo with a matching bow tie or in a princess-style dress accented with heels.

teens at prom

Now, think about what you wear every day.

  • How are your outfits different?

They are different because you dress formally for prom!

Just like with clothing, sometimes you must dress up your writing depending on the circumstances. This lesson will teach you when to dress your writing in a tuxedo or heels or, in other words, when to write in a formal style.

How you talk or text your friends probably differs from how you speak to your parents.

  • How would you tell your best friend if you received an A on your math test?
  • Would you change how you told the story when relayed to your parents?

The truth is, you constantly switch your tone in your everyday life without realizing it!

Watch the video below to see some examples.

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Sometimes, you must also change your tone in your writing.

You probably do not recognize it, but you adapt your writing to your audience whenever you type an essay or even send a text.

You might be wondering what the tone and audience are.

who is your audience

The tone is the writer's attitude toward a subject and is implied by the writer's word choice.

The audience is the people who will be reading and receiving your written messages. Your audience for a paper will often be your teacher, but it could also include your peers.

For example, if you texted your grandmother, you might type this.

Hi, Granny. I hope you are having a good day! I wanted to let you know that I will be coming to see you at 1 PM.

Your audience is your grandmother, and your tone is warm but respectful.

You might type the following if you texted your best friend.

Hey Becca. RINGL8, but see you in 10

Your audience is your friend, Becca, and the tone is casual.

You will want to use and maintain a formal and objective tone for most assignments and papers you write in school. You will want to write your paper using professional language.

  • How do you know when to use a formal and objective tone?

Learn it here!

fountain pen

  • When should you write formally?

You will use a formal and professional tone for most school essays. When you write reports, research essays, analytical papers, and many other assignments, you will want your word choice to make it sound profound and academic.

You will only write informally when writing creatively or for personal reasons, like short stories, poems, or memoir assignments.

To write objectively means to write without giving your direct opinion.

  • What is a formal tone, and how do you maintain it?

Use academic language.

Throughout your entire essay, be mindful of your wording.

It would help never to use slang or abbreviations associated with texting in a formal paper. It would also help if you incorporated elevated vocabulary to impress your reader and make your points more persuasive.

For example, if you were writing a lab report for your biology class about extracting DNA from a banana, you might want to write the following.

The results were crazy. It was weird to see DNA from a banana!

To make this more professional, think about your vocabulary. The words crazy and weird are pretty casual. Ask yourself how you can reword the response.

You could say this.

The results were unexpected. It was intriguing to study DNA extracted from a fruit.

Refrain from using the first person.

The first-person perspective uses the personal pronouns I, my, or mine.

Embedding personal pronouns in formal papers encourages readers to question your credentials and discredit your arguments.

For example, you may want to write this in your lab report.

I blended the banana in a blender to easily add the solution.

You could rephrase it to take out personal pronouns by writing the following.

The banana was blended in a blender to add the solution to it quickly.

The phrasing is hardly different; however, it focuses on the noun, the banana, rather than yourself. This focus highlights the steps taken in the lab and solely discusses the process.

Use facts to support your ideas.

In most formal papers, you make a claim and need to defend this claim.

To effectively do so and maintain an objective tone, you should avoid providing your own opinions blatantly. By supporting your claims with facts, the reader will be more likely to trust your argument and find it convincing.

For example, if you are writing an argumentative paper about summer being the best season, you may want to state this.

I like summer the most since I get to eat ice cream at Mulberry Farms.

To make this more effective with facts, write the following.

Summer is the most-favored season among youths. Thirty percent of people aged 18 to 34 in America agree that summer is the best season, considering outdoor activities and seasonal food (YouGovAmerica).

Using facts in your writing establishes trust for your audience. Your argument becomes more compelling, and you will have more to write about!

Use appropriate citations if needed.

Every discipline, including science, English, and history, uses different ways to give credit to scholarly resources.

In your English classes, you will use MLA. However, for science, you will use APA. History generally uses the Chicago style.

The format of citing sources maintains formality in your paper because it indicates to the readers that they are looking at a professional document. It also shows that you retain objectivity because you have gained important information from other sources.

If you need to review this information, watch the video below.

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When ready, test your knowledge in the Got It? section!

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