Ex. 9 Use the previous text to answer the following questions. 

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Ex. 9 Use the previous text to answer the following questions.

1. What are different levels of formality?

2. Why is formal academic writing less technical?

3. Is personal writing colloquial or formal? Why?

4. Can you give some examples of technical academic writing?

5. Why is it so important to know about different levels of formality?

6. What are the characteristics of formal writing (audience, tone, vocabulary, etc. …)?

7. What are the characteristics of informal writing (audience, tone, vocabulary, etc. …)?

Ex.10 Determine appropriate levels of formality.

• What level of formality should be used in each of these writing tasks? Is it technical, formal, informal, or colloquial?

• Use the chart "Levels of Formality" to help you decide.


Your brother writes to you about his experiences as a college freshman. colloquial

You need to write a note for your professor, saying you had stopped by her office and want to make an appointment. formal

1. You need to write a seminar report for colleagues in your major field (other educators, other engineers, other sociologists).

2. Your friend needs to write a letter to his father, who fairly understands and with whom he is fairly close, explaining his poor grades.

3. You need to write a letter to your sponsor, explaining your poor grades and asking for more.

4. It is summer vacation, and you are writing a letter to your American roommate, who has not traveled much, persuading him or her to come to visit you in your country.

6. Your roommate is completing a term paper (a lengthy paper which usually takes several weeks and library research to complete) for a lower-level economics class.

7. You are writing comments on a peer review form for a classmate.

8. Your professor is writing an article on historical linguistics for The TESOL Journal.

9. You are writing about how to build a suspension bridge for an upper-level civil engineering course.


Ex. 11 Analyze the use of audience and tone.

Imagine you are teaching a composition course for native speakers. You have just finished a unit in which you studied Robert Kaplan’s research on the cultural differences in writing.

• Read the following Essay Test Question and the three Essay Test Answers that follow.

• On a separate sheet of paper, analyze each Essay Test Answer for audience, tone, vocabulary, style, language content, and organization. Use the chart "Levels of Formality" as a guide.

ExampleAudience: Other American students (we ... us).

Essay Test Question

As you learned from the Kaplan article, people in different cultures have different approaches to writing. What do nonnative speakers need to know about the format rules in this culture? Write an essay in which you explain to nonnative speakers the rules for academic writing at universities in this culture. Be specific and informative.

Essay Test Answer 1

Professors in this culture have specific format rules. First, they want papers to be neat. This is true in other cultures too. But in our culture, we have to remember little things. Such as put the holes on the left, not the right. We also have to skip lines and leave the margin empty. Because the paper will be easy to read. Moreover, professors here want us to use only the front of the paper, not the back. We aren't supposed to flip the page over wrong. So what should be the top is used as the bottom, this is confusing. Second, a composition is supposed to be like a picture. The words are the picture and the margin is the frame. We think this is beautiful. But maybe people in other cultures think something else is beautiful. Cultures are different, nobody is right or wrong. Also, if my paper is sloppy, it looks like I did it at the last minute. Professors here expect us to pay attention to details. Not just with format but with spelling, capitalization, and punctuation. For example, one of my professors gave me a C, I had too many mistakes. Third, we have to type the right way. If a paper is typed wrong, our grade goes down. We have to double-space and leave spaces on the side. We also have to use font 12, not 15. If we use a computer to write our papers and print them, we have to make sure we tear the pages apart and put them in order. Professors do not like to do that for us. I think if nonnative speakers know these rules, they will do well with format. But they need to have interesting content, too. Because a paper won't get a good grade just because it looks nice. In conclusion, it won't be hard for nonnative speakers to learn these rules; they are easier than thinking of ideas. [324 words]

Essay Test Answer 2

Cultural differences regarding the presentation of an academic paper may not be significant, but nonnative speakers should be aware of the format rules they will be expected to follow in academic courses. First, effective academic writing in any culture looks polished and professional. In other words, it is well presented, not sloppy or illegible. Literally, the word "paragraph" means "picture of words." The completed writing assignment is pleasing to the eye and easy to read. Good writers care as much about the paper's appearance as its message. Writing a good paper takes effort, and the "format" of the paper is the wrapping on the gift. The professor will be more willing to appreciate the message if the presentation is pleasing to the eye. Such a paper demonstrates the writer's eye for detail in the completion of the paper, whereas a sloppy paper indicates a slip-shod job, perhaps a last-minute attempt. A paper that looks professional will not necessarily get an "A" in a university here, but a carelessly assembled, messy paper will be lucky to get a "D," especially if the content is poor. Although good academic writers in most cultures have high standards with respect to the pre­sentation of their writing, the format rules they follow may vary in other cultures. To begin with, the use of holes, lines, margins, and the paper space are different from culture to culture. For example, in some cultures, writers prefer the paper holes on the right, not the left. Thus, their front page is the back of the page in this culture. Moreover, writers in other cultures may not like to waste paper, so they fill all the space on a page, including the margins. Professors here, however, will expect empty margins and double spacing to allow room for comments and aid readability. Also, the pages should be clearly numbered and in order, and the back of the paper should not be used. If the back is used, the writing should not be upside down. The paper, therefore, should not be flipped over from the bottom; the top of the back page should correspond to the top of the front page, not the bottom. Finally, there are other format rules to learn regarding typed papers. Typed papers should be double-spaced in font 12. The margins should be adequate also. Professors expect the pages to be numbered, torn apart if printed, and handed in the correct order. In conclusion, nonnative speakers need to realize that, regardless of neatness, the format they are used to may be distracting to a professor here. Learning these rules is easier than learning how to compose a paper. [441 words]

Essay Test Answer 3

I'm going to write about the format rules for writing in school. I think good writing looks neat. What I mean is that it is not a piece of junk. My composition teacher said my paragraphs should be pictures. The paper is cool to look at. Easy to read if I do, I guess. I used to write yucky papers. But now I don't. Do you? I hear that format things are different everywhere. People use lines and stuff different all over the world. Weird. I guess people from other countries need to learn the same things as me. If they don't, they might turn their teacher off. Even if they are neat. Writing good papers are a pain. The "format" of the paper is a big deal. For my teachers, they will like my papers better if they look good. I care about the little things. That's what they think. A sloppy paper makes it look like I pulled an all-nighter. That's what I learned in my composition class. I want to write well. So that I don't get an F. Also, I shouldn't beat around the bush. I think that's all. [199 words]

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