Maintaining a Formal Style

Maintaining a Formal Style introduces students to the concept that different situations require different styles of writing. Sometimes, they will have to be more formal in writing style and tone. Students will learn how to tell the difference between informal and formal styles. By the end of the lesson, they should be able to write formally and maintain the proper style and tone throughout the piece.

There are a few fun suggestions listed in the “Options for Lesson” section that your students might enjoy. One suggestion is to have students compare video clips that present formal language to conversations of modern students. You can use the link in this section that presents a scene from Downton Abbey to demonstrate what formal language from older time periods sounded like. Students could discuss how language has changed over time.

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What our Maintaining a Formal Style lesson plan includes

Lesson Objectives and Overview: Maintaining a Formal Style teaches students the difference between formal and informal writing styles and tone. Students will learn when it is appropriate to use a formal style of writing. They will discover how to ensure the formal style they write in is consistent throughout the piece. They will be able to tell the difference between formal and informal dialogue.

The lesson contains two pages of content that outline aspects of formal and informal writing and speech. It first informs students that different situations require people to use certain styles of language. It then describes the concept of writing style and the concept of tone, which are not the same thing. A table separates situations that require a formal style of writing versus an informal style.

Students will then analyze a short text and answer several questions. They will have to describe the paragraph, figure out the author’s style, and guess at who the audience might be. The lesson finally lists eight helpful reminders about formal writing that will help students remember when it is right to use it.


Students will work with partners for the activity worksheet. (You may have students work alone or in groups if you choose.) Students will read through the short story and then rewrite it on the next worksheet page. They will change the style and tone to a more formal setting. They can reference the website listed to gather any other information they need.


There are two sections on the practice worksheet. The first section requires students to read 12 sentences. They will write whether or not the statement uses formal or informal language. The second section requires students to rewrite a short paragraph using informal language.


For the homework assignment, students will read a series of facts about Sojourner Truth. Then they will write a formal paragraph about her in their own words. They will use the facts and write include them in chronological order.

Additional information


6th Grade


Language Arts

State Educational Standards


Lessons are aligned to meet the education objectives and goals of most states. For more information on your state objectives, contact your local Board of Education or Department of Education in your state.