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Formal and Informal Vocabulary for IELTS

What do we mean by these distinctions within English?

English is only a language when you first start learning it. You probably don’t give different English dialects much thought. However, there are several dialects among most languages, and this frequently has to do with formal versus informal speaking.

It is crucial to use the right words when communicating with people in some nations, such as Japan or Korea, or you risk causing serious offence. Since most English-speaking nations are relatively modern and liberal, conversing casually with someone won’t likely offend them. However, making an effort is still crucial. Typically, formal language is employed in business, education, and most important situations. Even though it is more appropriate among friends, informal language is starting to be used more frequently. While you may learn these things on the go, for your IELTS test, it is important to understand the difference between formal and informal vocabulary.

You are being evaluated for specific English skills when taking the IELTS. You must be familiar with extremely fundamental academic procedures for the academic test, and more casual strategies are required for the general test. This is just a general tip for applying formal and informal vocabulary in the IELTS test, however.

What are some fundamental differences between both types of languages?

There are many differences between the two types of language, however, you need not know them all. Building a working knowledge of formal and informal English should be enough. Here are some key differences between both the formal and informal vocabulary/language style for IELTS :

Features of Formal LanguageFeatures of Informal Language
Little to no contractionsCan use contractions
Some use of passive voiceLittle use of passive voice
No slangSlang
Few personal pronounsMore personal pronouns
Occasional IdiomsFrequent Idioms
Difference between formal and informal language

Formal Language for IELTS

The IELTS writing test is where formal language is most crucial. While you must write both of your task 1 and task 2 essays in formal language for the academic exam, you may simply need to do so for Task 2 in the general training. Depending on the needs, Task 1 may be professional, semi-formal, or informal.

When writing formally, you should consider the following:

  • Use concise language that conveys clear meanings and avoids giving off too much personal opinion.
  • Avoid using slang, colloquialisms, and other casual words whenever possible.
  • Try to utilise grammar in a conventional sense whenever possible.

Many IELTS candidates believe they must employ exorbitantly difficult language; however, this is untrue. Using a dictionary to search up obscure words is not the same as using formal vocabulary, which does tend to be a little more sophisticated and difficult.

While it’s important to utilise good language, you shouldn’t feel pressured to employ the most intricate sentence patterns. Although long sentences are a common aspect of academic writing, you are not required to use them. It’s great to just be precise.

Formal Vocabulary for IELTS:

First off, the IELTS does not have an official vocabulary. There are formal and casual words, as well as proper words. You shouldn’t try to consider “What is the most formal word for this situation?” when writing essays for the academic IELTS test. You’re going to make mistakes if you think like this.

Choose the most accurate word instead. This is quite important. Unless it is also extremely informal, you won’t be punished if you use a correct word. Consider that you want to discuss the environment and that you choose to bring up the topic of cutting down trees as an example. Deforestation is the term we use to describe this phenomenon. It is a suitable word for the situation and is good. Others may even describe it as a formal or polished word.

Given that, think of which of the following statements is desirable:

  • More than half of the world’s trees have been cut down by humans in the last fifty years.
  • More than half of the world’s trees have been deforestation by humans in the last fifty years.

The first response is the right one since it follows the rules of grammar. Deforestation is a noun that describes the practise of removing trees from the landscape. In some extremely rare circumstances, we can use it as a verb, but not here. Remember: The most important thing about vocabulary for IELTS is using it accurately.

Formal Grammar for IELTS:

A few features of formal grammar:

  • In formal writing as opposed to informal writing, the passive voice is more prevalent. This is because it permits the removal of some personal features and is more likely to be factual and objective than casual writing. But be careful not to overdo it. Too much passive voice immediately detracts from the sound of any essay.
  • The use of participles is a characteristic of formal and classical language. These can make you sound a little more authoritative and demonstrate some degree of style mastery, but employing them excessively is a significant issue. These can be odd, even when used twice in one sentence.

Informal Language for IELTS:

The terms “casual” or “colloquial” are frequently used to describe informal discourse. It basically indicates that what was once thought to be extremely harsh is not formal. Although it is entirely acceptable in today’s society, we should nonetheless avoid using it in written English.

In informal speech, words are skipped over, shortened, and used in inventive, incorrect, or thoughtless ways. It might also involve cursing, but we won’t discuss that since it’s not a good idea for the IELTS.

Informal Language for IELTS Writing:

Let’s first take a quick look at IELTS writing and the potential usage of informal language. It is best avoided for the majority of writings. Instead, you ought to make advantage of the aforementioned formal structures.

To send a letter to someone you are close with socially or who is a member of your family while doing the IELTS general training, you can, however, use informal language.

Features of the Informal Language:

Slang and other colloquialisms can be used in informal communication. Additionally, idioms, contractions, and personal pronouns are acceptable. Additionally, it is occasionally feasible to defy grammatical conventions, as in the following instance:

Hope to hear from you soon!

I have omitted the subject in this instance and instead started the phrase with a verb. Even though this is often regarded as poor grammar, we occasionally use it in informal writing.

Informal Vocabulary and IELTS Speaking:

Naturally, the aforementioned rules also apply to formal writing, but what about IELTS speaking?

You don’t need to stress too much about IELTS speaking, which is fantastic news! It is a lot more relaxed. This section can be written in casual language, but it doesn’t matter if you also use a few official words. For instance, transition words (or cohesive devices) like “although” and “therefore” should be used in writing. In speech, “but” and “and” are more frequently used. We frequently begin sentences with words like “so,” even though it is not grammatically appropriate to do so.

You may utilise informal language for this portion of the exam, but I would caution against going overboard. Slang and idioms are acceptable, but learners might abuse them readily. They frequently have very precise purposes, and abusing them may cause misunderstanding or even outrage.

Another idea is to stay away from anything you believe might be offensive. English is constantly evolving, and some terms may have offensive connotations. These are subjects you shouldn’t discuss with your tutor.

Remember, there is not much difference between the two languages, however, whatever the difference it is important. Make sure you read this carefully and use formal and informal language in the IELTS test appropriately!

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