Helping Students Understand Levels of Formality

formality word cloudWhat’s been catching my eye lately in students’ writing is the mix of formal and informal words. I actually like that students have to submit assignments to me via email because it gives them additional writing practice. Corrections to their messages are opportunities for me to point out levels of formality. One of the hardest tones to master is what I think of as business casual. It’s still respectful, but not overly formal.

I’ve proposed some guidelines in the past for writing email. (Click to see previous post.) What I’d like to offer now is an activity with an actual message that students can discuss and revise. If you have students who could benefit from this kind of practice with levels of formality, please see my Understanding Levels of Formality_handout.

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