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Tips for Knowing When to use Formal English

Participating in Chat Rooms on the Internet is a great way to practice English reading and writing skills. However, it’s important to remember that the English used in Chat Rooms is not appropriate for every circumstance, even online. Here are some tips to know when and why to use formal English.

Always use formal English:

  • When sending email messages or letters to instructors, or other faculty and staff
  • When writing essays, discussion responses, or other assignments for classes
  • When participating in chat rooms for a class
  • When applying for internships or jobs

Why it’s important to use formal English in these situations:

  • It shows that you can communicate in a professional manner
  • It is the form required in academic settings
  • People who don’t know “chat” language will understand what you write
  • It shows that you are mature. Chat language is often associated with young people

It’s OK to use Chat language:

  • In informal chat rooms not associated with your classes
  • When sending email messages or letters to your friends