By Diana Simeon
A lot of communication these days is pretty much totes casual, but there are still times when your teenager will need to use actual formal English outside of the classroom. Applying for a job or communicating with a college admissions officer, for example. This issue, we offer a run-down of some basics teenagers need to keep in mind. Here’s a list of easy tips on writing a formal letter, email, or whatever you’re using to communicate formally.
- Format your letter correctly (google “how to format a formal letter” to get started).
- Use a more formal style of English, but not so formal that you sound old-fashioned.
- Don’t use contractions (It is not It’s, I would not I’d). Also, it’s best to avoid slang or acronyms (LOL). Always write in complete sentences.
- Check your spelling and grammar, especially capitalization. Mistakes will make a bad impression.
- Use an honorific (Ms., Prof., Mr.) and begin with Dear (Dear Ms. Smith:). Note the colon after the name instead of a comma.
- Keep your letter or email to three or four paragraphs (or less).
- Close your communication appropriately: “Sincerely” will work in the majority of cases. “Thanks a bunch” … not so much.
- Use a standard font. Times New Roman works … Comic Sans does not.
- Ask a parent or friend to proofread your letter or email before you send it.
Using these simple steps, writing a formal letter should be a snap for any teen.
Check out the other articles in our Move Out Skills series:
How to Do Laundry
Diana Simeon is managing editor of Your Teen Magazine.