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Formal and informal English A workshop brought to you by CQU Communications Learning Centre.

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Presentation on theme: "Formal and informal English A workshop brought to you by CQU Communications Learning Centre."— Presentation transcript:

1 Formal and informal English A workshop brought to you by CQU Communications Learning Centre

2 To tune in Imagine writing a business letter in your first language. What are some of the words you would use? Formal or informal? Imagine writing a business letter in your first language. What are some of the words you would use? Formal or informal? Imagine talking to a friend over the phone in your first language. Would you use formal or very informal language? Imagine talking to a friend over the phone in your first language. Would you use formal or very informal language? What would happen if you swapped the types of language used? What would happen if you swapped the types of language used?

3 Objectives of the session 1.Consider the similarities and differences between formal and informal English 2.Consider specific scenarios related to the two types of English 3.Practise classifying words into the two categories

4 1.Similarities between formal and informal English Convey a message Convey a message Have a reader ( listener) in mind Have a reader ( listener) in mind Important to know which part of speech the word belongs to ( e.g. noun or verb) Important to know which part of speech the word belongs to ( e.g. noun or verb) Not letting your grammar slip Not letting your grammar slip Both categories can be found in an advanced learners dictionary Both categories can be found in an advanced learners dictionary

5 Differences a) Formal English is more common in writing than speaking is more common in writing than speaking uses more passive voice (e.g. the matter will be discussed ) uses more passive voice (e.g. the matter will be discussed ) often uses abstract nouns formed from verbs (e.g. consider - consideration) often uses abstract nouns formed from verbs (e.g. consider - consideration) does not use the same word twice in a sentence does not use the same word twice in a sentence

6 b) Informal English Certain types of language are often informal: phrasal verbs ( e.g. brought up) phrasal verbs ( e.g. brought up) idioms (e.g. to beat about the bush) idioms (e.g. to beat about the bush) verb get (e.g. He got a letter last week) verb get (e.g. He got a letter last week) contractions ( e.g. it doesnt; it didnt) contractions ( e.g. it doesnt; it didnt) slang ( e.g. bloke= man) slang ( e.g. bloke= man)

7 2. Scenarios Formal Informal Public notices Public notices Police statements Police statements Job applications Job applications Legal documents Legal documents Academic environment (e.g. reports, essays, debates) Academic environment (e.g. reports, essays, debates) Spoken English Spoken English Most s Most s Song lyrics Song lyrics Jokes Jokes Academic environment ( face-to-face and online conversations with course instructors) Academic environment ( face-to-face and online conversations with course instructors)

8 3. Practise classifying the words Which ones are informal? Try to replace them purchase purchase bring bring commence commence get get bad bad ask ask request request buy buy acknowledge acknowledge wrong wrong because of because of I know that I know that indicate indicate often often

9 Use a dictionary to find out if these words are formal or informal Drivers are not permitted to drink. Drivers are not permitted to drink. What do you reckon? What do you reckon? The meeting will resume at 3 p.m. The meeting will resume at 3 p.m. Approximately 60% of the population watch TV in Australia. Approximately 60% of the population watch TV in Australia. You can the question to me. I dont know the answer off-hand. You can the question to me. I dont know the answer off-hand.

10 Find a synonym for each of these words Find a synonym for each of these words commence commence creation creation excessiveWhat do they mean? excessiveWhat do they mean? manner Try to make sentences manner Try to make sentences previous previous consistent consistent scepticism scepticism

11 Try to paraphrase these sentences: Scientists today tell us that the universe is dynamic and interconnected. Scientists today tell us that the universe is dynamic and interconnected. Competing theories need to be contrasted to assess unique contributions and shortcomings. Competing theories need to be contrasted to assess unique contributions and shortcomings.


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