A formal essay is a form of writing that follows a specific kind of writing. It tests the writer’s ability to conform and express themselves adequately under a rigid set of instructions. If you don’t how to go about it here is a comprehensive guide on how to write a formal essay.

How to Write a Formal Essay

Writing an exemplary formal essay is not rocket science. With the right tips, it’s something even a beginner can do. That said, here is a list of tips to get you started

  • Understand the Formal Essay FormatYou cannot write an excellent formal essay without understanding its different parts and how they are connected. Fortunately, we got your back on that, as well. Similar to an informal essay, a formal essay also has:
    1. A Great Introductory ParagraphThe first paragraph of both informal and formal essays is often meant to entice the reader into reading through the rest of the paper. Therefore, start with a topic sentence that immediately captures the attention of the reader. In most formal essays, a shocking or surprising statistic is often the best way to start of the writer. Alternatively, you could write a quote, ask a question, or give an example.

      The introduction offers readers a little more about the background on the main topic of the rest of the essay. Therefore, ensure yours also has this part. The last and most crucial part of the formal essay is the thesis statement. It sets the foundation for the essay and serves as the transition from your intro paragraph into the body. Therefore, it should clearly show your opinion towards the subject of the essay. At the same time, it alerts the reader of the transition from the intro to the body.

    2. The BodyThe next important part of the formal essay format is the body. The standard essay usually has three to five body paragraphs, but depending on the instructions you’ve been assigned, it may have more. Whether you write, three, five, or more, ensure each paragraph starts with an opening or topic sentence that informs the reader what that particular paragraph holds. It should also give the reader more background information and introduce facts about the topic sentence and how it’s connected to the thesis statement.
    3. The ConclusionThe conclusion of a formal essay is supposed to creatively restate your thesis, summarize each body paragraph in short sentences, and urge readers to take a particular action.
  • Have a Good Formal Essay HeadingThe heading is also an equally important part of formal essay writing. It is the title page that enables readers to differentiate an informal and formal essay. It should, therefore, include the author’s name, the topic, the date, and institutional affiliation.

    Far from the title page, a formal essay heading also refers to your title. It’s the first thing your readers see when they open your work. Therefore, similar to the introduction, it should also be appealing and informative.

  • Craft a Formal Essay OutlinePart of knowing how to write a formal essay includes knowing how to write a formal essay outline. This is especially important as an outline helps you organize your thoughts in an easily readable and appealing manner. The good bit is that since it’s like a sketch or a framework of the actual essay, a formal essay outline is pretty easy to craft.
  • Know the Words Not to Use in a Formal EssayAs noted, a formal essay follows a rigid structure. Thus, the same way you cannot show up at a formal event in yoga pants is the same way you cannot use informal words in essay writing. Connecting words properly is the essence of smooth writing. While there’s no strict rule that sets the words, you can use and not use apart, below is a list addressing some of the most commonly asked questions on pronouns allowed during formal essay writing:
    1. Can You Use They in a Formal Essay?There’s no straight answer for this one as it’s still a pretty controversial question. Most writers use “they” as a plural pronoun to avoid using the first-person pronouns such as we and us while others are completely against this idea. So can you use they in a formal essay? Well, the rule of the thumb prohibits you from using the pronoun “they” in formal or factual writing. However, as noted, some insist it’s acceptable, and some are against it. Therefore, whether to use or not use it depends on factors such as your professor’s view on the issue.
    2. Can You Use their in a formal Analysis Essay?Similar to the above, the answer to whether one can use their in a formal analysis essay is also dependent on one’s opinion.
    3. Can You Use “we” in a Formal Essay?The short answer to this is no. We is a 1st person plural. The rule of formal essay writing dictates you should only present facts in your work, which calls for the need to remain separate or impersonal to the topic at all times.

Main Differences between a Formal and Informal Essay

  • In a formal essay, the author should strictly write in a third-person tone while in an informal essay, they are free to use the first-person tone and directly address the reader
  • A formal essay follows a rigid structure that focuses on the development of an argument while an informal essay can take any direction the author prefers.
  • Colloquialisms, contractions, and elisions are a common sight in informal essays but are a no-go zone in formal essay writing.
  • A formal essay is often geared towards educating through facts, while an informal essay can be written for entertainment purposes.

Formal Essay Example

Check out the excerpt of the formal essay example below to get a good grasp of the tone and other elements of this kind of essay

This essay is focused on exploring how the lyrics of the hip-hop music genre developed as a form of protest against a discriminative society.

On an informal essay, the above excerpt would be like

I chose to write an essay on how hip-hop came up as a protest of the lower classes against discrimination.

Note the difference? The formal essay uses a serious and factual tone. There’s also no personalization, and it uses the third person. The informal essay excerpt, on the other hand, uses first-person pronouns and a less serious tone.

Once you understand the rules, formal essay writing can be quite fulfilling, and with the tips above, it’s possible to become a pro like our custom writers. Feel free to explore our page for more tips on how to write great formal essays.

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