The smart way to improve grades

Comprehensive & curriculum aligned

Affordable pricing from £10/month

Understand Language: Formal and Official 2

In this worksheet, students practise identifying features of formal and official language.

'Understand Language: Formal and Official 2' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 2

Curriculum topic:  Writing: Vocabulary, Grammar and Punctuation

Curriculum subtopic:  Formal Speech Awareness

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Formal official language is a style of English used in certain situations, such as official notices and letters. It uses particular words and phrases that make it different from everyday English, but it has other features as well.

for example:

You can't smoke here! (everyday English)

Smoking is prohibited. (official formal English)

 

Official language often uses the passive voice ('is prohibited') and it is also more impersonal in tone, avoiding pronouns like I, we and you.

 

Contractions (leaving out letters in a word) such as 'can't' and exclamation marks are not normally used in official language.

Read this sentence in everyday English.

 

Dogs are not allowed in this park!

 

Which of the following sentences would be used in official English?

No dogs allowed!

Dogs are prohibited!

We don't let dogs into this park.

Dogs are prohibited in this park.

Read this sentence in everyday English.

 

You can send your entries to the address at the top of this letter.

 

Which of the following sentences would be used in official English?

You can send your entries to the above address.

Send your entries to this address!

Entries should be sent to the above address.

Please send your entries here!

Read this sentence in everyday English.

 

We have heard that you want to leave this company.

 

Which of the following sentences would be used in official English?

We have found out that you want to go.

It has been brought to our attention that you're leaving this company!

We heard that you're leaving!

It has been brought to our attention that you intend to leave this company.

Read this sentence in everyday English.

 

Visitors - take your litter home!

 

Which of the following sentences would be used in official English?

Litter will be taken home by visitors.

Litter must be taken home!

We ask people to take their litter home!

Visitors are requested to take their litter home with them.

Read this sentence in everyday English.

 

Don't talk while the show is on!

 

Which of the following sentences would be used in official English?

Members of the audience are requested to refrain from talking during the performance.

Please refrain from talking during the show!

Do not talk during the show!

The audience mustn't talk during the show.

The person writing this sentence has over-used official English and the end result is hard to understand. What does it mean in everyday English?

 

The receipt of your communication is hereby acknowledged with thanks.

We did not receive your letter.

Thank you for your letter.

We will communicate with you soon.

This is another example of official English being over-used. What does it mean in everyday English?

 

It is regretted that our computer system has experienced some difficulties this morning.

Our computer system was installed this morning.

Our computer system is hard to use.

We are sorry that our computer system wasn't working this morning.

This violin teacher has over-used official English. What does the sentence mean in everyday English?

 

It has been brought to my attention by your mother that you have not been attending to your violin practice with due diligence.

You mother has told me that you haven't been practising your violin enough.

I have told your mother that you need to practise more.

Your mother says that you are finding the violin hard.

Which of these are features of good official English?

 

Tick two boxes.

It should be easy to understand.

It should use long words instead of short ones.

It uses slang words.

Sentences should always be very long.

It is formal.

In which of the following situations is official English normally used?

 

Tick two boxes.

A letter written by a solicitor or a lawyer.

A poster listing school rules.

A document describing a new law passed by the government.

A thank you letter for a birthday present.

A noticeboard showing the rules for using a local swimming pool.

  • Question 1

Read this sentence in everyday English.

 

Dogs are not allowed in this park!

 

Which of the following sentences would be used in official English?

CORRECT ANSWER
Dogs are prohibited in this park.
EDDIE SAYS
Lets do this! Formal language tends to not shorten words or sentences. 'Prohibited' is a more formal word for 'now allowed'. The last option gives the reader the full explanation. Although option 2 could be used it does not tell us where they are prohibited from.
  • Question 2

Read this sentence in everyday English.

 

You can send your entries to the address at the top of this letter.

 

Which of the following sentences would be used in official English?

CORRECT ANSWER
Entries should be sent to the above address.
EDDIE SAYS
Good effort! Remember you need to give the same information. When using formal language to write with a passive voice. Formal language is less personal. Words such as 'your' would often be left out.
  • Question 3

Read this sentence in everyday English.

 

We have heard that you want to leave this company.

 

Which of the following sentences would be used in official English?

CORRECT ANSWER
It has been brought to our attention that you intend to leave this company.
EDDIE SAYS
The trick here is to remember that formal language is impersonal and does not use contractions such as 'you're'. 'Brought to our attention' is a more formal way of saying 'we heard'.
  • Question 4

Read this sentence in everyday English.

 

Visitors - take your litter home!

 

Which of the following sentences would be used in official English?

CORRECT ANSWER
Visitors are requested to take their litter home with them.
EDDIE SAYS
You getting the hang of this? 'Requested' is a formal word for 'ask'. Option 4 is the least personal.
  • Question 5

Read this sentence in everyday English.

 

Don't talk while the show is on!

 

Which of the following sentences would be used in official English?

CORRECT ANSWER
Members of the audience are requested to refrain from talking during the performance.
EDDIE SAYS
Read through all the options and decide which sounds the most impersonal. Another trick to remember is that formal language tends to not use grammar such as exclamation marks. You got this!
  • Question 6

The person writing this sentence has over-used official English and the end result is hard to understand. What does it mean in everyday English?

 

The receipt of your communication is hereby acknowledged with thanks.

CORRECT ANSWER
Thank you for your letter.
EDDIE SAYS
Good effort! This is a genuine example of official English sent to the wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill. He wasn't impressed!
  • Question 7

This is another example of official English being over-used. What does it mean in everyday English?

 

It is regretted that our computer system has experienced some difficulties this morning.

CORRECT ANSWER
We are sorry that our computer system wasn't working this morning.
EDDIE SAYS
Remember the sentence should not change meaning. You are looking for an easier way of saying it. Remember if there are any words you do not understand you can use a dictionary to look them up. Keep up the great effort!
  • Question 8

This violin teacher has over-used official English. What does the sentence mean in everyday English?

 

It has been brought to my attention by your mother that you have not been attending to your violin practice with due diligence.

CORRECT ANSWER
You mother has told me that you haven't been practising your violin enough.
EDDIE SAYS
You getting the hang of this now? Just try to think about how you would say it. Look up any words you do not understand, this will help you to identify what the sentence is saying.
  • Question 9

Which of these are features of good official English?

 

Tick two boxes.

CORRECT ANSWER
It should be easy to understand.
It is formal.
EDDIE SAYS
Nearly there well done! There is no need for official language to use long and difficult words, but it is a mistake that people often make.
  • Question 10

In which of the following situations is official English normally used?

 

Tick two boxes.

CORRECT ANSWER
A letter written by a solicitor or a lawyer.
A document describing a new law passed by the government.
EDDIE SAYS
Fantastic effort! Rules for using places like swimming pools and parks used to be written in official English, but often people didn't understand them so now they tend to be written in more everyday language.
---- OR ----

Sign up for a £1 trial so you can track and measure your child's progress on this activity.

What is EdPlace?

We're your National Curriculum aligned online education content provider helping each child succeed in English, maths and science from year 1 to GCSE. With an EdPlace account you’ll be able to track and measure progress, helping each child achieve their best. We build confidence and attainment by personalising each child’s learning at a level that suits them.

Get started
laptop

Start your £1 trial today.
Subscribe from £10/month.