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Writing Letters: formal & informal English


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0:02

Hello, my name is Emma, and in today's lesson we are going to learn about writing. What

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kind of writing? Writing letters. Okay? So this is important for people who work in business.

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It's also important for people who like to write letters to their friends maybe or to

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their grandparents in English. Also, it is very... It is a very useful video for anyone

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who is taking the general IELTS test. So if you're taking not academic, but general, this

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is an important video. And also, if you plan to immigrate to Canada and you want to do

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the Canadian immigration test which is called: "the CELPIP", this video is also... It will

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also be useful and helpful to you. Okay?

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So let's get started. What do I mean by "formal" and "informal"? "Informal" means something

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you would write to your friends, something you would write to your parents, - well, probably

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your parents unless you're afraid of your parents, then you might be more formal -, your

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classmates, your coworkers. Okay? So this is... It means it's not formal; it's for people

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you know well. On the other hand, "formal" English we use with strangers, we use with

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our boss, in the workplace, we use it in these different ways. So it's the English you really

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have to think about, whereas informal is kind of the relaxed English. So relaxed, serious. Okay?

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So, sometimes you will have to write a letter formally, maybe to your boss or your company,

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other times maybe you're on holiday and you want to write a letter to your friend, you'll

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use informal English. So what is the difference? Let's see.

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Informal English uses contractions. What are contractions? "Didn't", "wouldn't", "couldn't",

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"haven't", "hasn't". So if you see a verb with an apostrophe and then a "t", that is

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a contraction. Okay? It's very important to know this because in formal writing, you don't

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use contractions. "Didn't" would be: "Did not". I can write that for you. "Did not".

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Couldn't: could not, haven't: have not, can't: cannot. Okay? So that's one major difference.

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Another major difference between formal and informal writing is the use of idioms; the

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use of certain expressions. If I'm writing to my friend, maybe I'll say: "Oh, you know,

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I've been very under the weather lately." Meaning: I've been very sick. If I'm writing

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to my boss, I won't use idioms. If I'm writing a formal letter, I will not use idioms. Those

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aren't good to use in formal writing.

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Phrasal verbs, this is another thing we find in informal writing. What is a phrasal verb?

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It's a verb that has a preposition. Okay? So, for example: "find out", "find" is a verb,