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8 Tips to Make Your Writing Sound More Formal

how do i make my essay more formal

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Here at ProofreadingPal , we get a lot of requests to “elevate tone,” “create a scholarly tone,” and “increase the formality,” and even “help this sound smart.” Truthfully, we cannot make you sound “smart.” There is no substitute for good ideas, but we can (and do) help you elevate your tone and make you sound like a bona fide professional-thinking person. Here are some handy tricks that you can use yourself.

  • Avoid colloquial, informal words

I see a surprisingly high number of formal academic/business works that include words that are better left for the water cooler or over a spirited discussion of the merits of Michael Bay movies. Some words to avoid are “totally” (use “completely” instead), “basically” (just avoid it), “impact” (mostly as a verb. You shouldn’t say “that will impact me”), “wicked” (only use this when chatting in online games), and “cool” (this word can mean just about anything. Try to choose a more precise word). In general, avoid all slang words (e.g., rad, YOLO, heaps, guv). If in doubt, see if you could imagine your professor or boss using it. If not, avoid it.

  • Proper use of “such as”

In formal writing, never use “like.” It’s probably the most commonly used feature of speech today for certain populations, but avoid it in formal writing. Compare:

Animals, like bears and tigers, are interesting. Animals, such as bears and tigers, are interesting.

See how much more formal the second sounds?

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  • Avoid contractions

Contractions such as “can’t,” “didn’t,” and “I’m” are purely a product of verbal speech. We speak in contractions, but the convention is that, for formal, non-fiction writing, we shouldn’t write in them. When writing a formal business letter or an academic essay, forego contractions. It’s easy to use the Word FIND function to seek them out and destroy them.

  • Avoid clichés


  Common Formality Mistakes

 This guide wouldn’t be complete without a look at some common practices that people use to make their writing more formal that don’t work. Here are a few practices we end up having to correct time and time again.

5. Don’t use passive voice . Passive voice is wordy, but being formal has nothing to do with wordiness.

  • Don’t use thesaurus words you don’t fully understand. Big words don’t make your writing sound more formal, and this can backfire when you pick a word that doesn’t mean what you think it means. Take the sentence, “I saw a red dog walking down the street.” Easy, right? But using too much of a thesaurus might cause you to create: “I consulted a bloodshot mongrel marching down the highway,” which clearly is not what you intended.
  • Don’t be wordy.

In all writing, wherever possible, brevity is the soul of wit. (Even I can’t avoid clichés, but at least that’s Shakespeare.) That means, always keep your prose as simple as possible . You may think, “The item that we are discussing could be the solution we are looking for to solve our problem,” sounds better because it’s long, but it’ll just annoy your reader. “That is the solution to our problem,” is better.

  • Don’t mangle your sentences with third person.

Some professors still insist their students use third person to make their writing sound more formal, but (and always check with your professor first) style guides such as APA (and us) recommend you use first or second person to prevent passive voice and ambiguous language. Take: “The researcher applied a qualitative approach to the study” for example. Who is the researcher? You or someone else? This is ambiguous. It’s better to say, “I will take a qualitative approach to the study,” and this doesn’t sound any less formal.

Happy writing, and good luck. Proofreading Services Commercial

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A (Very) Simple Way to Improve Your Writing

  • Mark Rennella

how do i make my essay more formal

It’s called the “one-idea rule” — and any level of writer can use it.

The “one idea” rule is a simple concept that can help you sharpen your writing, persuade others by presenting your argument in a clear, concise, and engaging way. What exactly does the rule say?

  • Every component of a successful piece of writing should express only one idea.
  • In persuasive writing, your “one idea” is often the argument or belief you are presenting to the reader. Once you identify what that argument is, the “one-idea rule” can help you develop, revise, and connect the various components of your writing.
  • For instance, let’s say you’re writing an essay. There are three components you will be working with throughout your piece: the title, the paragraphs, and the sentences.
  • Each of these parts should be dedicated to just one idea. The ideas are not identical, of course, but they’re all related. If done correctly, the smaller ideas (in sentences) all build (in paragraphs) to support the main point (suggested in the title).

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Where your work meets your life. See more from Ascend here .

Most advice about writing looks like a long laundry list of “do’s and don’ts.” These lists can be helpful from time to time, but they’re hard to remember … and, therefore, hard to depend on when you’re having trouble putting your thoughts to paper. During my time in academia, teaching composition at the undergraduate and graduate levels, I saw many people struggle with this.

how do i make my essay more formal

  • MR Mark Rennella is Associate Editor at HBP and has published two books, Entrepreneurs, Managers, and Leaders and The Boston Cosmopolitans .  

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How to Write a Formal Essay: Format, Rules, & Example

If you’re a student, you’ve heard about a formal essay: a factual, research-based paper written in 3rd person. Most students have to produce dozens of them during their educational career. 

Our specialists will write a custom essay on any topic for 13.00 10.40/page

The picture enumerates the characteristics of a formal essay.

Writing a formal essay may not be the easiest task. But fear not: our custom-writing team is here to guide you through the process. This article will:

  • explain what a formal essay is;
  • show how to write it step by step;
  • provide you with an essay sample. 

👔 Formal Essay Definition

  • ✅ How to Write
  • ✍️ Writing Rules
  • 🖥️ Essay Format
  • 📑 Sample Paper

🔍 References

A formal essay is a well-structured piece of writing with a clear introduction, body, and conclusion. This type of essay often includes cited research, uses an academic tone, and is written in 3rd person. While writing a formal essay, it’s necessary to back up your arguments with factual evidence.

What Is an Informal Essay vs. Formal Essay?

Essays come in two formats: formal and informal (also known as personal .) They differ in terms of style and context. You can choose one of the formats depending on the situation and the type of paper you need to write.

Don’t know how to tell the difference between them? Well, here are some key characteristics of these essay types:

As you can see, these types of writing are almost total opposites. Informal essays are only reserved for creative assignments, which means that most of the papers you write need to be formal.

Our article on creative essays can help you write an informal paper. But how do you craft a perfect formal essay? Keep reading to find out.

✅ How to Write a Formal Essay

Traditionally, a formal essay it’s composed of 3 sections: an introduction, 3 or more body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Let’s examine each part in detail.

Formal Essay Introduction

The introduction is what your essay starts with. Its primary goal is to catch the reader’s attention with a hook, briefly introduce the topic, and lead toward the thesis statement located at the end of the first paragraph.

Here is what you might want to keep in mind while writing the introduction:

If you want some more inspiration for your introduction, check out our article on hooks in writing .

Receive a plagiarism-free paper tailored to your instructions.

Now on to the thesis statement : the key idea of your essay. When working on it, keep in mind that it should answer the central question in your topic and reflect your essay’s overall structure. your essay’s overall structure.

Suppose your topic is related to the teaching methods involving poetry. In that case, the thesis statement can be like this:

Teaching methods that involve reading and writing poetry in elementary school are beneficial for children as they enhance their capacity for empathy, develop creativity, and help with self-realization.

Formal Essay Body

The next part of an essay is the main body paragraphs. They support the thesis statement with well-developed arguments and explore the topic in-depth. Each body paragraph starts with a topic sentence stating its main point. The length of a paragraph can vary, but the best option is to have between 4 and 7 sentences.

To make the text flow easily, you may use transitional words. Here are some examples:

  • after all, 
  • for instance, 
  • on the one/other hand, 
  • initially, 
  • as a result.

How to Write a Formal Essay Conclusion

Lastly, every essay needs closure. A good conclusion summarizes the essay’s main ideas, includes a paraphrased thesis, and encourages the readers to think more about the topic.

Just 13.00 10.40/page , and you can get an custom-written academic paper according to your instructions

The structure of a conclusion may change slightly depending on the subject. For instance, it can suggest some solutions to a problem, express an opinion, or give a recommendation. It’s important to remember that the conclusion is a part that emphasizes your essay’s most important points and doesn’t introduce new information.

If you’re curious about writing each essay part, check out our article on 5-paragraph essays .

✍️ Formal Writing Rules

Just like choosing the proper attire to wear to a formal event, we need to use the right words while writing a formal essay. Here are some suggestions that can help you maintain a formal tone in your paper:  

Dos of formal writing

  • Pay attention to your vocabulary. The words you will use in a formal essay will likely have a nuanced meaning. Make sure you know exactly what the terms mean, and do your best to sound precise.
  • Use punctuation correctly. Here are some of the things to watch out for: Avoid exclamation marks; Use dashes for insertions; Use colons with enumerations; If you’re unsure of whether to use a punctuation mark or not, rewrite the sentence in a way that doesn’t require it.
  • Use varied sentence structure. In formal writing, there is always a danger of sounding monotonous. Avoid repeating sentence structures to make your essay more readable.
  • Provide references. It’s essential to cite every idea that you borrow. Try to paraphrase quotations from your sources: it will help you avoid plagiarism.

Don’ts of formal writing

  • Avoid using pronouns.  With words such as “I,” “me,” “we,” or “us,” an essay becomes wordy. It also makes the author seem less sure of their ideas. If you want to use personal pronouns, try substituting them with words like “the reader,” “viewers,” or “one.”
  • Avoid using slang expressions and nonstandard diction. Slang words in a formal essay will make it less appealing to the readers. If you want to be taken seriously, it’s best to avoid those expressions and use proper Standard English.
  • Avoid informal tone.  When you write a formal essay, incorporate the language and the expressions you would use while delivering a speech, not the words you use when you casually talk to friends. A formal tone suggests that the author is serious about the topic and respects the audience.
  • Avoid passive voice. Passive verbs are hard to read, and they are wordy. Use active voice to sound more straightforward and concise.

Contractions in Formal Writing

A contraction is usually a combination of two words into one, such as “don’t,” “isn’t,” “can’t,” and “wouldn’t.” When you work on a formal essay, it’s essential to be careful about contractions. It’s inappropriate to use them in academic writing, so it’s best to stick to the full variant.

However, there are exceptions to this rule. For instance, when working with direct quotations, it’s essential to reproduce words exactly as they are used in the original. To learn more about it, be sure to check out the University of North Florida’s article on in-text citations .

What to Use Instead of “You” in an Essay

Another common mistake students make is using the “you” and “yours” pronouns to address the readers. This mistake can make the essay overly informal and lead to misinterpretations of the text.

How do you fix it? Our advice is to replace 2nd-person pronouns with the following words:

  • individuals,

You can find more formal writing tips in this informative video from Smrt English:

🖥️ Formal Essay Format

Now that we’ve discussed formal essay writing in detail, it’s time to look at the formatting. A formal essay is usually written in MLA or APA formats. If you’re asked to write a paper in one of these formats, you may find the guidelines below helpful:

📑 Formal Essay Example

Here is an excellent sample of a formal essay that uses all the guidelines mentioned in this article. It will help you to produce a perfect paper of your own:

For more information, check out Purdue OWL’s resources on various formatting styles .

Formal Essay Topics

  • Stress management techniques  
  • The effects of coffee  
  • Negative effects of technology on children 
  • Causes and outcomes of organizational conflicts in sports  
  • Different types of friends  
  • Same-sex marriages in the United States  
  • Are early marriages harmful or beneficial? 
  • How do nutrition and hydration improve athletes’ performance? 
  • Is polygamy morally acceptable? 
  • Different features of sports business  
  • What characterizes friendship in the age of media ? 
  • Positive and negative effects of tourism on environment in the Caribbean  
  • How does society treat single parents ? 
  • How does the uninvolved parenting style affect child’s future well-being? 
  • The role of family relationships in Odyssey  
  • Financial concepts in sport finance  
  • Main features of a strong marriage  
  • The importance of media coverage for sport teams 
  • Reasons why students choose to get internship  
  • The role of stadiums in the sports industry 
  • The multiracial family: the Carters case analysis  
  • Characteristics of children’s sports  
  • Crucial factors affecting health fitness  
  • How is technology used in hotel management ? 
  • Structure and operational context of Four Seasons  
  • What are the main qualities of a true friend?  
  • Different websites that promote rental properties 
  • The imperative aspects of tourism  
  • Importance of hotel training  
  • What factors determine adolescents’ adjustment after they experience parental divorce ? 
  • How does tobacco use affect the human body?  
  • The importance of language and world view for communication 
  • What makes a combination of reinforcement and punishment in parenting efficient? 
  • The scientific approach of sports economics  
  • How does divorce affect children? 
  • Living on-campus vs. living off-campus when attending university: a comparison  
  • How does the New Moves program promote a healthy lifestyle? 
  • How to be an effective counselor  
  • Various types of restaurants in Ireland  
  • Carolina Dog’s characteristics 
  • Comparison of Monzameon’s The Love Suicides at Amijima and Tartuffe by Moliere  
  • Comparing homosexual and heterosexual families  
  • How is family presented in Everyday Use by Alice Walker ? 
  • In what ways can Anaerobic Threshold be assessed? 
  • Is bad parenting a healthcare problem? 
  • Why student-athletes should benefit from sports  
  • Mind-body awareness and its health benefits 
  • Can punishment boost academic performance? 
  • Techniques to teach students swimming  
  • Issues faced by the sports licensing field 

Thanks for reading through this guide! We hope that you found it helpful and now have a better idea of how to write an excellent formal essay. Don’t hesitate to share our article with a friend who may need it. Good luck!

Further reading:

  • How to Write a Critical Thinking Essay: Examples & Outline
  • What Is a Discourse Analysis Essay: Example & Guide
  • How to Write a Narrative Essay Outline: Template & Examples
  • How to Write a Précis: Definition, Guide, & Examples 

❓ Formal Essay FAQs

It’s best not to use pronouns such as “I,” “my,” “we,” “our,” etc., in a formal essay since it give the paper an informal tone and the text becomes wordy. It also makes the writer seem less sure about their ideas.

It’s better to avoid using parentheses and dashes in formal academic writing. If the information you want to include in the essay is important enough, it should be a part of the sentence. Otherwise, you can simply omit it.

The formal and informal essays differ in style and context. While a formal essay is a piece of well-structured writing that tries to convince the reader by providing arguments, an informal essay has no set structure. It reflects the author’s personal thoughts or opinions.

Starting your sentence with “because” in formal writing is not the best idea. The word “because” is a subordinate conjunction, which means it’s used to join the main clause to a subordinate clause, not to start a sentence.

It’s best to avoid using 1st- and 2nd-person pronouns, slang expressions, nonstandard diction, and contractions in a formal essay. They are primarily used in daily speech and are considered inappropriate in academic writing. 

  • Point of View in Academic Writing: St. Louis Community College
  • Components of a Good Essay: University of Evansville
  • Introductions & Conclusions: University of Arizona Global Campus
  • How to Improve Your Academic Writing: University of York
  • Nine Basic Ways to Improve Your Style in Academic Writing: University of California, Berkeley
  • Academic Writing Style: Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper: University of Southern California
  • Formal and Informal Style: Northern Illinois University
  • Formal Writing: Davenport University: LibGuides
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  • Writing Worksheets and Other Writing Resources

Nine Basic Ways to Improve Your Style in Academic Writing

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how do i make my essay more formal


Don't say:  "The stepmother's house was cleaned by Cinderella."  (Passive.)

Say instead:  "Cinderella cleaned the stepmother's house."  (Active voice.)

Passive voice construction ("was cleaned") is reserved for those occasions where the "do-er" of the action is unknown.

Example:  "Prince Charming saw the glass slipper that was left behind."

2. Mix it up in terms of PUNCTUATION

Here are a few commonly misused punctuation marks that a lot of people aren't sure about:

The  semi-colon (;)  separates two complete sentences that are complementary.

Example:  "She was always covered in cinders from cleaning the fireplace; they called her Cinderella."

The  colon (:)  is used...

a. preceding a list.

Example:  "Before her stepmother awoke, Cinderella had three chores to complete: feeding the chickens, cooking breakfast, and doing the wash." 

b. as a sort of "drum roll," preceding some big revelation.

Example:  "One thing fueled the wicked stepmother's hatred for Cinderella: jealousy."  

The  dash (--)  is made by typing two hyphens (-). No spaces go in between the dash and the text. It is used...

a. to bracket off some explanatory information.

Example:  "Even Cinderella's stepsisters-who were not nearly as lovely or virtuous as Cinderella--were allowed to go to the ball." 

b. in the "drum roll" sense of the colon.

Example:  "Prince Charming would find this mystery lady--even if he had to put the slipper on every other girl in the kingdom."  


Don't say:  "Cinderella saw her fairy godmother appear. She was dressed in blue. She held a wand. The wand had a star on it. She was covered in sparkles. Cinderella was amazed. She asked who the woman was. The woman said, 'I am your fairy godmother.' She said she would get Cinderella a dress and a coach. She said she would help Cinderella go to the ball."

Instead say: (there are multiple correct ways to rewrite this, but here's one)  "Amazed, Cinderella watched as her fairy godmother appeared. The woman dressed in blue was covered in sparkles and carried a star-shaped wand. Cinderella asked the woman who she was, to which the woman replied, 'I am your fairy godmother." The fairy godmother would get Cinderella a dress and a coach; she would help Cinderella get to the ball."

4. Closely related to this, avoid CHOPPINESS

Don't say:  "She scrubbed the floors. They were dirty. She used a mop. She sighed sadly. It was as if she were a servant ."

Instead say : (again, there are multiple ways to do this)  "She scrubbed the dirty floors using a mop, as if she were a servant. She sighed sadly."


Don't say:  "The stepsisters were jealous and envious ."

Instead say :  "The stepsisters were jealous ."  (...or envious. Pick one.)


Don't say:  "The mystery lady was one who every eligible man at the ball admired."

Instead say :  "Every eligible man at the ball admired the mystery lady."

7. Use the VOCABULARY that you know.

Don't always feel you have to use big words. It is always better to be clear and use simple language rather than showing off flashy words you aren't sure about and potentially misusing them. This is not to say, however, that you should settle for very weak vocabulary choices (like "bad" or "big" or "mad").

8. But also work on expanding your VOCABULARY.

When reading, look up words you don't know. See how they're used. Start a list. Incorporate them into your writing as you feel comfortable and as they are appropriate.

9. Keep language FORMAL and avoid language of everyday speech.

Don't say:  "Cinderella was mellow and good. She never let her stepmother get to her ."

Say instead:  "Cinderella was mild-mannered and kind. She never let her stepmother affect her high spirits ."

So, essentially, when it comes to working on style, there are three things to remember:

Empower yourself with knowledge..

Learn to punctuate correctly, enhance your vocabulary, etc. Give yourself all the tools there are so that you are free to...

...Mix it up!

Avoid repetition of words and sentence structure. Variance promotes good "flow" and is more interesting for your reader.

"Write to EXPRESS, not to IMPRESS."

Above all, write actively, clearly, and concisely.

Amber Carini

Student Learning Center, University of California, Berkeley

©2002 UC Regents

  This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

4 ways to make your writing more formal

Get serious about formal writing with these tips and tricks.

Stacy Goh

Formal writing may sound like something only academics and C-suite professionals use. But it's a writing style most of us will employ at some point in our lives (if not daily). It's necessary for serious situations, like applying for a job or writing a business report.

But formal writing doesn't come easily to everyone. You can't just shove fancy words into a document and hope for the best—you have to modify your tone, sentence structure, even your punctuation.

So if you're here to refresh your resume, boost your essay grades, or simply make your emails sound more professional, keep reading...

When to use formal writing

What time is it

First, we should talk about when to use formal language. It generally depends on three things:

  • who you're writing to
  • why you're writing
  • where you're writing

If you're contacting someone you know well, like a family member or close colleague, it's safe to use informal language. It may also be acceptable if you work in marketing or customer support for a relatively casual brand (like Wendy's social media team ).

However, you should use a formal tone when communicating with a stranger or someone higher-up (like your boss). For example, job applications should always use formal language to generate a strong first impression.

You should also consider the purpose of your message. If you want to connect with people on an emotional level, a conversational tone may help. For more serious topics, like any form of academic writing, keep it formal.

If you want to come across as competent yet friendly, you may go for a standard tone (somewhere between formal and casual). Just remember—it's always safer to be more formal than informal!

The platform you're using may also dictate your writing style. You'll notice Outwrite's blog articles and social media posts are fairly casual compared to our terms of service page.

If you're unsure, check if the company or publication you're writing for has a style guide. The best ones will outline how their brand tone sounds on different platforms.

How to write formally

Businessman opening a paper

Now that we know when to use formal language, let's look at how to use it.

1. Avoid colloquial language

While contractions and abbreviations can save precious typing time, they're discouraged when writing formally. Aim to write the full version of words, like "information" instead of "info".

The same rule applies to slang, idioms, rhetorical questions, and other figures of speech. These elements tend to be conversational, and may detract from the seriousness of your message. Use literal language instead.

You should also be mindful of your punctuation. Exclamation marks and em dashes may be fun to use, but they have no place in a research paper. Stick to your standard commas and semicolons.

2. Embrace complex (but clear) sentences

In previous articles, we've recommended rewriting sentences to make them simple and short. Formal writing is one of those cases where it's okay, if not commonplace, to use complex and compound sentences.

Consider including transitional phrases like "additionally", "conversely", and "therefore" to connect and contrast ideas. Just be careful not to make your sentences too wordy—formal writing should be succinct.

3. Swap weak words for stronger synonyms

People typically dress up for a formal event. The same goes for your vocabulary. When used correctly, complex words can make you appear intelligent and professional.

If you don't have a thesaurus handy, a writing assistant like Outwrite can help you use stronger words like:

4. Write in third person

Informal writing often uses first and second person. Personal pronouns like "I", "we" and "you" can help portray the writer's opinion, and evoke an emotional response from the reader.

In contrast, formal writing prefers third person. It tends to make your writing more objective and impersonal. For example, instead of saying "I believe", try using "it could be argued" or "the evidence suggests".

Get serious about formal writing

how do i make my essay more formal

Hopefully these tips have made formal writing a little less intimidating. If you need help putting them into practice, give Outwrite a try . It'll help enhance your vocabulary, and rewrite your sentences for improved clarity and flow.


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how do i make my essay more formal

  • Questions about Expos?
  • Writing Support for Instructors
  • Tips for Organizing Your Essay

If you are used to writing essays that are similar to the five-paragraph essay (one claim and then three points that support that claim), it can be daunting to think about how to structure your ideas in a longer essay. Once you’ve established your thesis, you need to think about how you will move your reader through your argument. In some courses, you will be expected to provide a roadmap in your introduction that explicitly tells readers how your argument is organized. But even when you don’t provide a roadmap, your reader should be able to see the connections between your ideas. As you think about how your ideas fit together, try these three strategies:  

Strategy #1: Decompose your thesis into paragraphs  

A clear, arguable thesis will tell your readers where you are going to end up, but it can also help you figure out how to get them there. Put your thesis at the top of a blank page and then make a list of the points you will need to make to argue that thesis effectively.

For example, consider this example from the thesis handout : While Sandel argues persuasively that our instinct to “remake”(54) ourselves into something ever more perfect is a problem, his belief that we can always draw a line between what is medically necessary and what makes us simply “better than well”(51) is less convincing.

To argue this thesis, the author needs to do the following:

  • Show what is persuasive about Sandel’s claims about the problems with striving for perfection.
  • Show what is not convincing about Sandel’s claim that we can clearly distinguish between medically necessary enhancements and other enhancements.

Once you have broken down your thesis into main claims, you can then think about what sub-claims you will need to make in order to support each of those main claims. That step might look like this:

  • Evidence that Sandel provides to support this claim
  • Discussion of why this evidence is convincing even in light of potential counterarguments
  • Discussion of cases when medically necessary enhancement and non-medical enhancement cannot be easily distinguished
  • Analysis of what those cases mean for Sandel’s argument
  • Consideration of counterarguments (what Sandel might say in response to this section of your argument)

Each argument you will make in an essay will be different, but this strategy will often be a useful first step in figuring out the path of your argument.  

Strategy #2: Use subheadings, even if you remove then later  

Scientific papers generally include standard subheadings to delineate different sections of the paper, including “introduction,” “methods,” and “discussion.” Even when you are not required to use subheadings, it can be helpful to put them into an early draft to help you see what you’re written and to begin to think about how your ideas fit together. You can do this by typing subheadings above the sections of your draft.

If you’re having trouble figuring out how your ideas fit together, try beginning with informal subheading like these:

  • Introduction  
  • Explain the author’s main point  
  • Show why this main point doesn’t hold up when we consider this other example  
  • Explain the implications of what I’ve shown for our understanding of the author  
  • Show how that changes our understanding of the topic

For longer papers, you may decide to include subheadings to guide your reader through your argument. In those cases, you would need to revise your informal subheadings to be more useful for your readers. For example, if you have initially written in something like “explain the author’s main point,” your final subheading might be something like “Sandel’s main argument” or “Sandel’s opposition to genetic enhancement.” In other cases, once you have the key pieces of your argument in place, you will be able to remove the subheadings.  

Strategy #3: Create a reverse outline from your draft  

While you may have learned to outline a paper before writing a draft, this step is often difficult because our ideas develop as we write. In some cases, it can be more helpful to write a draft in which you get all of your ideas out and then do a “reverse outline” of what you’ve already written. This doesn’t have to be formal; you can just make a list of the point in each paragraph of your draft and then ask these questions:

  • Are those points in an order that makes sense to you?  
  • Are there gaps in your argument?  
  • Do the topic sentences of the paragraphs clearly state these main points?  
  • Do you have more than one paragraph that focuses on the same point? If so, do you need both paragraphs?  
  • Do you have some paragraphs that include too many points? If so, would it make more sense to split them up?  
  • Do you make points near the end of the draft that would be more effective earlier in your paper?  
  • Are there points missing from this draft?  
  • Tips for Reading an Assignment Prompt
  • Asking Analytical Questions
  • Introductions
  • What Do Introductions Across the Disciplines Have in Common?
  • Anatomy of a Body Paragraph
  • Transitions
  • Counterargument
  • Conclusions
  • Strategies for Essay Writing: Downloadable PDFs
  • Brief Guides to Writing in the Disciplines

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The Formalizer takes your text and rephrases it in various ways. It's essentially a style translator or code switcher. The overall content of the text should stay the same, but it will be written in the new style.

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We aim for a tool so precise that it becomes possible to unquestioningly adopt its recommendations and still come out ahead — with stronger, tighter prose. Better to be quiet and authoritative than loud and unreliable.

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No. Typely is completely free and we plan on keeping it that way. We are considering some advanced features however that might be available under a premium plan.

The only limit we have applied thus far is on the number of characters you can submit and that is being set at a maximum of 50,000.

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Q: What are the differences between formal and informal language translation?

A: Formal language translation is more complex and technical, while informal language translation requires more creativity and interpretation.

Q: How do you transform a sentence from formal to informal/casual?

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Q: What is the distinction between informal and formal language?

A: Formal language is professional and academic, while informal language is more casual and conversational.

Q: What are some tips for making text more formal?

A: Use professional vocabulary, avoid slang and contractions, follow grammar rules, use complex sentence structures, and adjust tone and formality based on audience and context.

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Differences between informal and formal writing styles

Differences between informal and formal writing styles

Check the nuances and distinctions between informal and formal writing styles to better understand their appropriate applications.

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Making the essay sound more formal.


  • Use the Third Person
  • Avoid Contractions 
  • Avoid Slang
  • Use Correct Grammar 
  • Avoid Misspellings and Typographical Errors 
  • Use Formal Vocabulary
  • Structure Your Essay 
  • Essay writing help for students

As most college students come to discover, writing a college-level essay   is far trickier than crafting a high school-level paper. Apart from the need to follow more complex instructions, college papers tend to be longer and are expected to provide in-depth discussions. Additionally, college essays are evaluated using more rigorous standards of academic writing. One such standard is the quality of the language used. A college paper is required to be written using formal language. So how exactly does a formal essay sound? The answer is: it depends. Formal language varies among academic levels and fields. A paper written by a sophomore student for an art class will have marked differences compared to a paper written by a post-graduate student for a political science class. That said, there are general guidelines for formal writing. In this post, we look at some of these guidelines.

One of the cardinal rules for writing a formal essay is writing in the third person point of view. This means avoiding the use of first-person pronouns such as “I,” “me,” “my,” and “we” among many others. The use of the second person is also discouraged in formal writing, though this is not frequently stated since the second person is already rarely used. This means avoiding the use of the pronoun “you.” The use of the third person   is prescribed because it gives the paper a more objective and convincing tone. See the example below to see how using the third person can make a sentence sound formal:

First-person writing:  “I think that the study’s methodology is inherently flawed because the researchers did not control for a number of variables that could affect the results.”

Third-person writing: “The study’s methodology is inherently flawed because the researchers did not control for a number of variables that could affect the results.”

Though the third person is considered the standard for formal writing, note that the use of first-person is gaining wider acceptance in some circles. To be safe, you may check with your professor if the instructions are not clear.

Avoid Contractions 

Another important rule for formal writing is avoiding contractions. A contraction is commonly composed of two words that have been combined to form a shortened version and with an apostrophe added to signal the shortening of the term. Examples of contractions are “aren’t” for “are not,” “it’s” for “it is,” and “haven’t” for “have not.” Contractions are regarded as informal language, and thus writers are advised to avoid these.

Similar to contractions, slangs are best avoided when writing a formal paper. Slangs are words considered as very informal. These words are used more in everyday informal conversation than in writing. For example, “busted” is slang for “captured” or “apprehended.” Thus, instead of writing “the fugitives were busted,” you may write it as “the fugitives were apprehended.” 

Use Correct Grammar 

An essay also sounds more formal if the grammar is correct. While a few grammatical mistakes are easy to disregard, too many of these can be distracting to a reader. Moreover, grammar mistakes can affect the message of your paper by either making sentences confusing or completely altering their meaning. Correct grammar is especially important if you are writing for more advanced courses. If you are not confident about your grammar, you may seek the help of a friend, a professor, or your school’s writing center.

Avoid Misspellings and Typographical Errors 

Like incorrect grammar, misspelled words and typographical errors can affect the quality of the language. A paper with multiple errors sounds far less formal than a paper free of such mistakes.   A formal paper is expected to undergo a round of revisions so as to produce a refined final copy, so make sure that you perform editing and proofreading before submission.

Another way to make your essay sound more formal is by using formal vocabulary. Formal vocabulary is a broad term, and what qualifies as formal varies. However, one way of using formal vocabulary is by choosing the appropriate words based on the context. For instance, assuming that you are writing a paper on a health topic, then you should consider the audience of the paper. If your audience does not have extensive background on the topic, then it is best to avoid jargon and use formal but everyday language instead. For example, using “elevated body temperature” is more appropriate for an audience composed of the general public, whereas “hyperthermia” is more appropriate for an audience of healthcare professionals. Both words are formal vocabulary, but they differ in use depending on the audience. While you may use jargon if necessary, remember to keep your language simple. Do not use flowery language. A paper should be formal, but it should also come across as practical and accessible.

Structure Your Essay  

Students and professionals, particularly when their interests are not within the realm of essay writing or academic writing, often find difficulty in making their writing sound more formal. Let's face the uncomfortable truth: writing prowess is an acquired skill, developed and honed through practice and, as few people do not know, an almost maniacal devotion to reading. In today's fast-paced life, who has time to read voraciously? Students are swamped 24/7. Professionals hardly have time for themselves. Here at CustomEssayMeister's academic ghostwriting services, excellent and plagiarism-free academic writing is what we can guarantee, in the form of custom written papers. If you're a student who's simply neck-high in essay writing tasks or a professional who's just dead tired, seek our services. You stand to gain a lot from freeing yourself of all these responsibilities. Be assured of excellence, originality, and professionalism. 

more in Writing Guides / Essay Writing

  • How to Fact Check for Your Essay Oct 6, 2019
  • Guide on How To Use The Four Types of Sentences Aug 17, 2019
  • How To Write An Expository Essay in 6 Steps Jan 23, 2019
  • Essays vs Research Papers Oct 8, 2019

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  • Misplaced conjunctions It is considered poor style to place coordinating conjunctions at either end of a sentence. Placing a subordinating conjunction at the end of a sentence is against the rules.

It is said that one day, passive voice will bring weakness to your prose.

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  • Overwriting Words like "very" and "really" make sentences wordier and weaken your message. These can be deleted in almost all cases without affecting the meaning of the sentence.
  • Abstract words Abstract words lack specificity and overusing them can make even simple concepts difficult to understand. There are times when abstract words are desirable or even necessary; it would be difficult to write about math or programming without mentioning variables or functions, but you should use more specific terms whenever possible.
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The boxer decked his opponent.

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Her dress was long , and it touched the floor.

Her long dress touched the floor.

  • Gender-specific pronouns Avoid using gender-specific pronouns in formal writing when the subject's gender is unknown.
  • Weasel words Like abstract words, weasel words and phrases lack specificity. At best, they convey uncertainty. At worst, they can be used to "weasel out" of telling the truth in a straightforward manner. When checking a document that is speculative by nature, you might want to disable this detector.
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Hot peppers burn my mouth, but I eat them anyway .

Since burritos taste good , I like to eat them.

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  • Long sentences Long sentences tend to be more difficult to read, making them good candidates for trimming or splitting. Alternatively, parallelism may be used to improve their readability, though this will not decrease the ARI score.
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  • 13 Ways to Make Your Writing More Interesting to Read

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There are numerous characteristics of a good essay: original thinking, a tight structure, balanced arguments, and many more .

You should also read…

  • How to Improve Your Writing Skills in your Spare Time
  • 5 Top Tips for Everyday Study Success

But one aspect often overlooked is that a good essay should be interesting . It should spark the curiosity of the reader, keep them absorbed, make them want to keep reading and learn more. A boring essay risks losing the reader’s attention; even if the points you make are excellent, a dull writing style or poor handling of a dry subject matter can undermine the positive aspects of the essay. The problem is that many students think that essays should be like this: they think that a dull, dry style is suited to the purposes of academic writing, and don’t consider that the teacher reading their essay wants to find the essay interesting. Academic writing doesn’t have to be – and shouldn’t be – boring. The good news is that there are plenty of things you can do to make your writing more interesting, even though you can only do so much while remaining within the formal confines of academic writing. Let’s look at what they are.

1. Be interested in what you’re writing about

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If there’s one thing guaranteed to inject interest into your writing, it’s actually being interested in what you’re writing about. Passion for a subject comes across naturally in your writing, typically making it more lively and engaging, and infusing an infectious enthusiasm into your words – in the same way that it’s easy to chat knowledgeably to someone about something you find interesting. This makes it relatively easy to write interestingly about a subject you have a real passion for. However, problems arise when you’re forced to write an essay about subjects for which you lack enthusiasm. It’s difficult to conjure up passion for your least favourite subjects, and that will come across in your writing. There are steps you can take, though: here are some tips on writing about a subject you don’t enjoy.

  • Adjust your mindset : convince yourself that there are no boring subjects. If the subject or essay comes across as boring, blame yourself; if you find yourself feeling negatively about it, try to find the interest in it. Think about how it relates to the real world and how important the subject is. Find interesting snippets of information about it and look at it from a new angle.
  • Think about your reader : consider the fact that not everyone will find the subject as boring as you do. As you write, keep the reader in mind and imagine them to be the world’s biggest fan of this subject.
  • Find the fans : if you find it impossible to get into the mindset of your audience, try Googling the subject to find forums, videos or blog posts in which the subject is discussed by people who do find it interesting. This will help you picture whom you’re writing for, and give you a different perspective on a subject you may not have found inspiring up to now.

2. Include fascinating details

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Another factor that can make an essay boring is a dry subject matter. Some subjects or topic areas are naturally dry, and it falls to you to make the essay more interesting through your written style (more on this later) and by trying to find fascinating snippets of information to include that will liven it up a bit and make the information easier to relate to. One way of doing this with a dry subject is to try to make what you’re talking about seem relevant to the real world, as this is easier for the reader to relate to. In a discussion of a seemingly boring piece of legislation, for instance, you could make a comment along the lines of “if it were not for this legislation, none of us would enjoy the freedom to do such and such today”, or “Legislation A ultimately paved the way for Legislation B, which transformed criminal law as we know it.” Make it seem exciting!

3. Emulate the style of writers you find interesting

When you read a lot, you subconsciously start emulating the style of the writers you read. It’s therefore beneficial to read widely, as this exposes you to a range of styles and you can start to take on the characteristics of those you find interesting to read. If you feel engaged with a piece of writing, the writer must be doing something right! As you read, think consciously about what the writer is doing to hold your interest, perhaps underlining or copying out certain phrases, techniques, sentence structures and so on. Then apply their techniques to your own writing.

4. Write in the active voice

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It’s the oldest trick in the book, but using the active rather than the passive voice will automatically make your writing more interesting to read. It results in more direct, energetic writing that makes the reader feel more ‘in the moment’. Unfortunately, many students employ the passive voice in the belief that it makes their writing sound more academic or intellectual; in fact, it makes their writing sound boring. Remember, the active voice is when the subject of the sentence “acts”, while the passive voice is when the subject is acted upon. Passive : It was concluded by the scientists that the methods used were… Active : The scientists concluded that the methods used were… The subject in this example is “the scientists” and the “act” they are carrying out is “concluding”. As you can see in this example, the active voice almost always results in neater and more elegant phrasing, which is more concise and enjoyable to read.

5. Borrow some creative writing techniques

There’s clearly a limit to the amount of actual ‘story-telling’ you can do when you’re writing an essay; after all, essays should be objective, factual and balanced, which doesn’t, at first glance, feel very much like story-telling. However, you can apply some of the principles of story-telling to make your writing more interesting. For example, just as the opening sentence or paragraph of a novel is incredibly important in capturing the attention of the reader early on, so the first paragraph of your essay is essential in making your reader want to continue reading it. Start with an attention-grabbing ‘hook’ to draw them in, such as a controversial statement, a tantalising snippet of information or a rhetorical question (more on these below). Here are some more techniques you can adopt from creative writing to improve your essays .

6. Think about your own opinion

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Your essay is bound to be boring if all you do is paraphrase what everyone else says about something. A good essay – in humanities subjects, at least – incorporates the writer’s intelligent responses to what others say, and this critical consideration not only shows that you’re thinking at a high academic level, but it automatically adds more interest and originality to your writing. So, think independently and don’t be afraid to demonstrate that you’re doing as much.

7. Cut the waffle

Rambling on and on is boring, and almost guaranteed to lose the interest of your reader. You’re at risk of waffling if you’re not completely clear about what you want to say, or if you haven’t thought carefully about how you’re going to structure your argument. Doing your research properly and writing an essay plan before you start will help prevent this problem. Editing is an important part of the essay-writing process, so once you’ve done a first draft, edit out the waffle. Read through your essay objectively and take out the bits that aren’t relevant to the argument or that labour the point. As well as editing out chunks of text, it’s important to be economical with words – not using ten where five will suffice, and avoiding clunky phrases such as those outlined in this article . During the editing process, tighten up your phrasing by eliminating unnecessary words and reordering any sentences that read badly.

8. Using a thesaurus isn’t always a good thing

Image shows a thesaurus against a yellow background.

You may think that using a thesaurus to find more complicated words will make your writing more interesting, or sound more academic, but using overly high-brow language can have the wrong effect. It alienates the reader and makes you sound pompous, with the result that the essay is more laborious to read and the reader may quickly lose interest. Despite this, many undergraduates admit to deliberately over-complicating their language to make it sound more high-brow. If you want to keep your reader interested, keep your language clear and simple.

9. Avoid repetitive phrasing

Avoid using the same sentence structure again and again: it’s a recipe for dullness! Instead, use a range of syntax that demonstrates your writing capabilities as well as making your writing more interesting. Mix simple, compound and complex sentences to avoid your writing becoming predictable.

10. Use some figurative language

Image shows a hawk screeching.

As we’ve already seen, it’s easy to end up rambling when you’re explaining difficult concepts, – particularly when you don’t clearly understand it yourself. A way of forcing yourself to think clearly about a concept, as well as explaining it more simply and engagingly, is to make use of figurative language. This means explaining something by comparing it with something else, as in an analogy. For example, you might use the analogy of water escaping from a hole in a bucket to explain the exponential decay of a radioactive substance, as the rate of depletion of both depends on how much remains, making it exponential. This gives the reader something familiar to visualise, making it easier for them to understand a new concept (obviously this will not be a new concept for the teacher who set your essay, but they will want to see that you can explain concepts clearly and that you have a thorough grasp of it yourself).

11. Avoid clichés

Clichés are overused words or phrases that make your writing predictable, and therefore less interesting. An example would be “at the end of the day”, but there are many such favourites of student essay-writers. Don’t forget that your teacher will have a stack of essays to read in one sitting; if you use the same tired expressions everyone else uses, your essay will blend in with all the others. Make it stand out by shunning the clichés you know your classmates will be using.

12. Employ rhetorical questions

One of the ways in which ancient orators held the attention of their audiences and increased the dramatic effect of their speeches was by making use of the rhetorical question. What is a rhetorical question? It’s essentially one you ask without expecting your audience to answer – one that you will answer yourself, like the one we asked in the previous sentence. This can be an effective way of introducing a new line of enquiry, or of raising questions that you’re going to address in more detail. A good place to use a rhetorical question is at the end of a paragraph, to lead into the next one, or at the beginning of a new paragraph to introduce a new area for exploration. The rhetorical question, “But is there any evidence to support X’s claim?” could, for instance, begin a paragraph that discusses evidence for an opinion introduced in the previous paragraph. What’s more, as we’ve already seen, you could use a rhetorical question as your ‘hook’ to lure readers in right at the beginning of your essay.

13. Proofread

Finally, you could write the most interesting essay a teacher has ever read, but you’ll undermine your good work if it’s littered with errors, which distract the reader from the actual content and will probably annoy them. Before you submit your essay, proofread it thoroughly to ensure that the grammar is elegant, the punctuation is perfect and the spelling is flawless. Don’t just use a spelling and grammar checker, as these don’t always pick up on all the errors.

Do you want to take your writing to the next level? Our Creative Writing summer school will teach you how to experiment with a number of different writing techniques, plan, edit and proofread your own work and introduce you to new concepts and ideas. 

Image credits: banner ; carousel ; rose ; scientists ; baby ; thesaurus ; hawk ; questions . 

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IELTS Practice.Org

IELTS Practice Tests and Preparation Tips

  • IELTS Writing

How to make your essays and reports sound more formal

by Manjusha Nambiar · March 31, 2015

Your essays and reports should be written in a formal and academic style.

Here are some smart strategies you can employ to make your writing sound more academic.

Use tentative language

Assertive language sounds less formal and hence it should be avoided. Instead use tentative language. One way of using tentative language is to include expressions like ‘probably’ and ‘possibly’. You can use them before noun phrases and verbs.

Examples are given below:

Global warming is possibly caused by an increase in the emission of carbon dioxide.

Heredity is probably the most important factor that determines a person’s chances of getting cancer.

The modal verbs may and might also make you sound less assertive.

Parents may be the best teachers for their children.

Avoid the adverbs always and every. Instead use often and much / many.

Many people believe that the internet should be regulated.

Use formal vocabulary. For example, write ‘obtain’ instead of ‘get’.

Limit the use of phrasal verbs. Write ‘tolerate’ instead of ‘put up with’.

Begin sentences with preparatory it and there.

There are several benefits to living on one’s own.

It seems that there are several benefits to living on one’s own.

Limit the use of personal pronouns. For example, you can use ‘one’ instead of ‘you’.

One may ask if the internet should be regulated.

Do not use rhetorical questions in your essay.

‘Unrestricted access to the internet may affect the normal development of young children. But is regulating it such a good idea after all?’

You may rewrite this passage as follows:

‘Unrestricted access to the internet may affect the normal development of young children. However, regulating it does not seem to be such a good idea.’

The connectors

The connector ‘besides’ is informal. Limit its use. The connectors ‘moreover’ and ‘furthermore’ too should be used with care. Both expressions mean that the information that follows them is more important than the information that preceded them.

Instead of ‘moreover and ‘furthermore’, you can use the connectors ‘in addition’ and ‘also’ . They give equal importance to both sentences.

Internet addiction may affect your work. It may also affect your relationships.

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how do i make my essay more formal

Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I'm Manjusha. This is my blog where I give IELTS preparation tips.

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50 ways to change your life in 2024

Connie Hanzhang Jin

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Malaka Gharib

Clare Schneider, photographed for NPR, 17 January 2019, in Washington DC.

Clare Marie Schneider

Handwritten text saying Life Kit's New Year's Resolution Planner: 50 ideas to help you move forward in 2024.

Got an ambition that's been on the shelf for a while? This is the year to turn it into a reality.

Maybe you've been trying to pay off your credit cards but have been struggling to save money because of inflation. Maybe you're thinking about taking the next step in your relationship but want to make sure it's the right call. Or maybe you just want to scratch some of those smaller projects off your to-do list: declutter , start flossing and make more friends at work .

Whatever your goal is, Life Kit is here to support you. This year's New Year's Resolution Planner has a fresh new mix of ideas to help you move forward in 2024.

Each episode comes with clear, practical advice on how to achieve the objective, which is important when it comes to sticking to a resolution . "Goal pursuit requires focused attention," says Elliot Berkman , a psychologist at the University of Oregon. "Our minds need to be focused on one thing," he says.

Ready to take action? Got your target set? Let's go!

This year, I want to ...

  • Ask for a raise
  • Start a side hustle
  • Quit my job
  • Shake my impostor syndrome
  • Get stronger
  • Start exercising
  • Become a runner
  • Be more flexible
  • Get healthier (without going to the gym)

Get organized

  • Keep my New Year's resolutions
  • Write to-do lists that work
  • Start a new healthy habit
  • Change my life
  • Improve my focus
  • Drink less alcohol
  • Be a morning person
  • Drink enough water
  • Try to live to 100
  • Sleep better
  • Eat more mindfully
  • Take care of my teeth
  • Mend my own clothes
  • Get into birding
  • Learn a heritage language
  • Start a creative habit
  • Find good books to read
  • Clean out my clutter
  • Prep for emergencies
  • Save time on laundry
  • Make my home more climate friendly

Mental health

  • Embrace my perfectionism
  • Explore my gender identity
  • Have more fun
  • Get better at saying 'no'
  • Deal with burnout
  • Get into meditation
  • Decide whether I want kids
  • Freeze my eggs
  • Spend more quality time with my kids
  • Be a better auntie or uncle
  • Start new traditions
  • Make a budget
  • Get out of debt
  • Find a better bank
  • Stop stress spending
  • Have fun on a budget


  • Create a 'relationship contract'
  • Be OK with being single
  • Get married
  • Create friends at work

The episodes were created by Life Kit. Design, development and illustrations by Connie Hanzhang Jin. Production, editing and art direction by Malaka Gharib, Clare Marie Schneider, Beck Harlan and Kaz Fantone. Special thanks to Life Kit supervising editor Meghan Keane, growth editor Arielle Retting, podcast project manager Lyndsey McKenna and engagement editor Amanda Orr.

We'd love to hear from you. Leave us a voicemail at 202-216-9823 , or email us at [email protected] .

Listen to Life Kit on Apple Podcasts and Spotify, or sign up for our newsletter .

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Free Paraphrasing Tool

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This AI-powered paraphraser lets you rewrite text in your own words. Use it to  paraphrase articles, essays, and other pieces of text. You can also use it to rephrase sentences and find synonyms for individual words. And the best part? It’s all 100% free!

What's paraphrasing

What's paraphrasing?

Paraphrasing involves expressing someone else’s ideas or thoughts in your own words while maintaining the original meaning. Paraphrasing tools can help you quickly reword text by replacing certain words with synonyms or restructuring sentences. They can also make your text more concise, clear, and suitable for a specific audience. Paraphrasing is an essential skill in academic writing and professional communication. 

how do i make my essay more formal

Why use this paraphrasing tool?

  • Save time: Gone are the days when you had to reword sentences yourself; now you can rewrite a text or a complete text with one click.
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how do i make my essay more formal

Rephrase individual sentences

With the Scribbr Paraphrasing Tool, you can easily reformulate individual sentences.

  • Write varied headlines
  • Rephrase the subject line of an email
  • Create unique image captions

Paraphrase an whole text

Paraphrase a whole text

Our paraphraser can also help with longer passages (up to 125 words per input). Upload your document or copy your text into the input field.

With one click, you can reformulate the entire text.

how do i make my essay more formal

Find synonyms with ease

Simply click on any word to open the interactive thesaurus.

  • Choose from a list of suggested synonyms
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Paraphrase in two ways

Paraphrase in two ways

  • Standard: Offers a compromise between modifying and preserving the meaning of the original text
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Upload any document-to paraphrase tool

Upload different types of documents

Upload any Microsoft Word document, Google Doc, or PDF into the paraphrasing tool.

Download or copy your results

Download or copy your results

After you’re done, you can easily download or copy your text to use somewhere else.

Powered by AI

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The paraphrasing tool uses natural language processing to rewrite any text you give it. This way, you can paraphrase any text within seconds.

How does this paraphrasing tool work?

1. put your text into the paraphraser, 2. select your method of paraphrasing, 3. select the quantity of synonyms you want, 4. edit your text where needed, who can use this paraphrasing tool.


Paraphrasing tools can help students to understand texts and improve the quality of their writing. 


Create original lesson plans, presentations, or other educational materials.



Explain complex concepts or ideas to a wider audience. 



Quickly and easily rephrase text to avoid repetitive language.



By using a paraphrasing tool, you can quickly and easily rework existing content to create something new and unique.


Bloggers can rewrite existing content to make it their own.


Writers who need to rewrite content, such as adapting an article for a different context or writing content for a different audience.


A paraphrasing tool lets you quickly rewrite your original content for each medium, ensuring you reach the right audience on each platform.

The all-purpose paraphrasing tool

The Scribbr Paraphrasing Tool is the perfect assistant in a variety of contexts.



Writer’s block? Use our paraphraser to get some inspiration.


Professional communication

Produce creative headings for your blog posts or PowerPoint slides.


Academic writing

Paraphrase sources smoothly in your thesis or research paper.


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Craft memorable captions and content for your social media posts.

Paraphrase text online, for free

The Scribbr Paraphrasing Tool lets you rewrite as many sentences as you want—for free.

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Frequently asked questions

The act of putting someone else’s ideas or words into your own words is called paraphrasing, rephrasing, or rewording. Even though they are often used interchangeably, the terms can mean slightly different things:

Paraphrasing is restating someone else’s ideas or words in your own words while retaining their meaning. Paraphrasing changes sentence structure, word choice, and sentence length to convey the same meaning.

Rephrasing may involve more substantial changes to the original text, including changing the order of sentences or the overall structure of the text.

Rewording is changing individual words in a text without changing its meaning or structure, often using synonyms.

It can. One of the two methods of paraphrasing is called “Fluency.” This will improve the language and fix grammatical errors in the text you’re paraphrasing.

Paraphrasing and using a paraphrasing tool aren’t cheating. It’s a great tool for saving time and coming up with new ways to express yourself in writing.  However, always be sure to credit your sources. Avoid plagiarism.  

If you don’t properly cite text paraphrased from another source, you’re plagiarizing. If you use someone else’s text and paraphrase it, you need to credit the original source. You can do that by using citations. There are different styles, like APA, MLA, Harvard, and Chicago. Find more information about citing sources here.

Paraphrasing without crediting the original author is a form of plagiarism , because you’re presenting someone else’s ideas as if they were your own.

However, paraphrasing is not plagiarism if you correctly cite the source . This means including an in-text citation and a full reference, formatted according to your required citation style .

As well as citing, make sure that any paraphrased text is completely rewritten in your own words.

Plagiarism means using someone else’s words or ideas and passing them off as your own. Paraphrasing means putting someone else’s ideas in your own words.

So when does paraphrasing count as plagiarism?

  • Paraphrasing is plagiarism if you don’t properly credit the original author.
  • Paraphrasing is plagiarism if your text is too close to the original wording (even if you cite the source). If you directly copy a sentence or phrase, you should quote it instead.
  • Paraphrasing  is not plagiarism if you put the author’s ideas completely in your own words and properly cite the source .


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  5. How to Structure an Essay

    The first is that your argument should move from the simplest claim to the most complex. The body of a good argumentative essay often begins with simple and widely accepted claims, and then moves towards more complex and contentious ones.

  6. 4 ways to make your writing more formal

    writing tips 4 ways to make your writing more formal Get serious about formal writing with these tips and tricks. Stacy Goh Jun 17, 2021 • 4 min read Formal writing may sound like something only academics and C-suite professionals use. But it's a writing style most of us will employ at some point in our lives (if not daily).

  7. Tips for Organizing Your Essay

    Strategy #2: Use subheadings, even if you remove then later. Scientific papers generally include standard subheadings to delineate different sections of the paper, including "introduction," "methods," and "discussion.". Even when you are not required to use subheadings, it can be helpful to put them into an early draft to help you ...

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    Write with Grammarly Below we discuss that framework and how you can apply it to your essays, whatever types they may be. But first, let's start with a basic overview of how to write an essay. How to write an essay The basic steps for how to write an essay are: Generate ideas and pick a type of essay to write.

  10. How to Write a Formal Essay

    Write an introduction. How to write a formal essay introduction in the right manner? It should consist of brief information about what you are going to write in the body paragraphs. Don't forget to include a thesis statement in the last sentence of the introduction.

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  12. How to Write an Essay Outline

    Revised on July 23, 2023. An essay outline is a way of planning the structure of your essay before you start writing. It involves writing quick summary sentences or phrases for every point you will cover in each paragraph, giving you a picture of how your argument will unfold. You'll sometimes be asked to submit an essay outline as a separate ...

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    Relax, focus, write your next masterpiece... Writing presumes more than simply laying out words on a paper. Typely helps you get in the mood and keeps you focused, immersed and ready to write your story. Whether you need a distraction-free environment, some chill relaxing sounds or a pomodoro timer to manage your time we got you covered.

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    Welcome to Formal Converter - Your All-in-One Tool for Formal Writing Are you struggling to convert your informal writing into a more professional and formal tone? Look no further than Formal Converter - the ultimate tool for transforming your language quickly and easily.

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    It is usually possible to express the same idea using standard verb forms. Certain discourse markers are considered informal. Avoid using them. For example, write incidentally instead of by the way. Do not leave out words. Ellipsis is not acceptable in formal writing. Write 'I hope to see you soon' instead of 'Hope to see you soon.'.

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    The answer is: it depends. Formal language varies among academic levels and fields. A paper written by a sophomore student for an art class will have marked differences compared to a paper written by a post-graduate student for a political science class. That said, there are general guidelines for formal writing.

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    Check your grammar in seconds. Slick Write is a powerful, free application that makes it easy to check your writing for grammar errors, potential stylistic mistakes, and other features of interest. Whether you're a blogger, novelist, SEO professional, or student writing an essay for school, Slick Write can help take your writing to the next level.

  19. College Essay Format & Structure: A Complete Guide

    A more informal tone may be appropriate if you're sharing a personal anecdote. However, avoid using slang or getting too intimate. The essay is part of the formal application process, which you might compare to a job interview. If it's not something you'd say or share in a face-to-face interview, it doesn't have a place in your essay writing ...

  20. 13 Ways to Make Your Writing More Interesting to Read

    Adjust your mindset: convince yourself that there are no boring subjects. If the subject or essay comes across as boring, blame yourself; if you find yourself feeling negatively about it, try to find the interest in it. Think about how it relates to the real world and how important the subject is.

  21. How to Write More Concisely

    One of the simplest ways to make your writing more concise is to avoid "inflated" phrases that use several words where just one or two would be sufficient. * If you replace a prepositional phrase with an adverb, that adverb may need to shift to another part of the sentence. Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check. Try for free Avoid redundancies

  22. How to make your essays and reports sound more formal

    Use formal vocabulary. For example, write 'obtain' instead of 'get'. Limit the use of phrasal verbs. Write 'tolerate' instead of 'put up with'. Begin sentences with preparatory it and there. There are several benefits to living on one's own. It seems that there are several benefits to living on one's own. Limit the use of ...

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    Drink enough water. Spend more quality time with my kids. Create friends at work. Be OK with being single. Start running. Get better at saying 'no'. Keep my New Year's resolutions. Sleep better ...

  24. #1 Free Paraphrasing Tool

    It's all 100% free! What's paraphrasing? Paraphrasing involves expressing someone else's ideas or thoughts in your own words while maintaining the original meaning. Paraphrasing tools can help you quickly reword text by replacing certain words with synonyms or restructuring sentences.