Answered By: Chrissine Cairns
Last Updated: Jun 04, 2018     Views: 14

Formal writing is the kind of writing you do in a college paper or in a cover letter for a job application.  It is careful, clear, and concise writing that has been revised numerous times and edited and proofread carefully.

Typically, formal writing uses Standard English, which includes correct grammar and word usage.  Formal writing also typically avoids contractions (isn’t, aren’t, hadn’t), first-person pronouns (I, me, my, we, us, our), second-person pronouns (you, your, yours), slang, and clichés.

The Purdue Global Writing Center’s Reference Library offers several helpful tutorials on the topic.  You may wish to review Samples of Formal Writing and the Formal vs. Informal Writing tutorial.  The Honing Word Choice tutorial also provides examples of formal style.