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Writing in Formal Language: The Cat

In this worksheet, students use the series of questions to transform a first-hand eyewitness report into a formal, impersonal and concise report.

'Writing in Formal Language: The Cat' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 3

Curriculum topic:  Writing

Curriculum subtopic:  Purpose and Audience Awareness

Difficulty level:  

down

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

There has been an incident. You are the police officer who has been sent to investigate. Work through the following questions to write up your report in formal and impersonal language, from the statements given to you by eyewitnesses.

 

Eyewitness account:

Well, I heard all this banging and crashing about and I went out back to see what was going off. I'd just had my tea and Eastenders was starting so I was in a bit of a rush and I crashed into this hoodie-type bloke who was in my garden. Anyway, I knocked him over by accident so he was on the ground and I asked him what he was doing and that and he said something about a cat - I wasn't really listening - and then he pointed up at the tree in next door's garden. Anyway, over the fence I could see all these neighbours around the big tree so I went past the hoodie bloke to look and there was this cat up there, but it was a bit dark so I couldn't really see what the big deal was, until they shone a torch, the neighbours did, and then I saw that it was stuck up there, but it was dressed up in clothes, then one of the others said that it was Supercat and he laughed, and then I saw that it had a cape and red underpants on.

 

 

You can read the eyewitness account at any time as you go through the questions by clicking on the Help button.

To get the overall picture of what has happened, put the following events in the correct order. Hover your mouse over each even to see it in full.

Column A

Column B

1st
There was a cat in the tree.
2nd
The man gestured to the tree.
3rd
There was a loud noise.
4th
The cat was stuck.
5th
The cat was wearing a costume.
6th
The witness knocked a man over.

Formal Language

It is important to be able to use formal language when you need to. Could you turn this description from the text from an informal into a formal one? 

 

"this hoodie-type bloke"

 

Which is the best formal version below?

A man with a hoodie on.

A man wearing a hooded top.

A bloke wearing a hood.

Formal Language - Connectives

The witness in this text uses the phrase "anyway" as a connective, as many people do in informal speech.

 

Re-read this extract from the text:

 

"I crashed into this hoodie-type bloke who was in my garden. Anyway, I knocked him over by accident"

 

Which of the following connectives would be a formal replacement for "anyway" in this sentence?

consequently

alternatively

whereas

Formal Language - Contractions

We often use contractions in informal language. Contractions are new words which are formed by letters from one or more words being replaced by apostrophe.

For example: don't instead of do not, or we're instead of we are.

 

Choose one contraction from the text and write the formal version in the text box below.

Impersonal Language

Change this sentence from personal (I could see) to impersonal.

 

"Anyway, over the fence I could see all these neighbours around the big tree".

 

Which of the following is the best option to choose?

there was

there were

I saw

Impersonal Language

Transform this sentence from personal to impersonal:

 

I'd just had my tea

Having recently e_______  (Write the missing word in the answer box below.)

 

Impersonal Language

Transform this extract from personal to impersonal language.

 

but it was a bit dark so I couldn't really see

As it was getting dark, the witness was u_______ to see clearly. (Write the missing word in the answer box below.)

Concise Expression

Concise means keeping the number of words to a minimum whilst still including all the important information; leaving out anything which doesn't need to be there.

 

Look back at the eyewitness account and decide which of the following could be completely removed from the text WITHOUT the meaning changing in any way.

I wasn't really listening.

It had a cape and red underpants on.

I went out back to see.

Concise Expression

Reduce this phrase to make it more concise:

 

I heard all this banging and crashing about

I heard a __________. (Write the missing word in the answer box below.)

Concise Expression

Re-read this extract from the text:

 

I couldn't really see what the big deal was, until they shone a torch, the neighbours did, and then I saw that it was stuck up there

 

Which of the following sentences is the most concise?

I couldn't see, then one of the neighbours shone a torch and I could see.

I couldn't see until a neighbour shone a torch on the cat.

  • Question 1

To get the overall picture of what has happened, put the following events in the correct order. Hover your mouse over each even to see it in full.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

1st
There was a loud noise.
2nd
The witness knocked a man over.
3rd
The man gestured to the tree.
4th
There was a cat in the tree.
5th
The cat was stuck.
6th
The cat was wearing a costume.
  • Question 2

Formal Language

It is important to be able to use formal language when you need to. Could you turn this description from the text from an informal into a formal one? 

 

"this hoodie-type bloke"

 

Which is the best formal version below?

CORRECT ANSWER
A man wearing a hooded top.
EDDIE SAYS
The best example of formal language is "A man wearing a hooded top." The words 'hoodie' and 'bloke' are both informal.
  • Question 3

Formal Language - Connectives

The witness in this text uses the phrase "anyway" as a connective, as many people do in informal speech.

 

Re-read this extract from the text:

 

"I crashed into this hoodie-type bloke who was in my garden. Anyway, I knocked him over by accident"

 

Which of the following connectives would be a formal replacement for "anyway" in this sentence?

CORRECT ANSWER
consequently
EDDIE SAYS
'Consequently' is the best replacement here, as the man wearing the hoodie was knocked to the ground as a consequence of the eyewitness running into him.
  • Question 4

Formal Language - Contractions

We often use contractions in informal language. Contractions are new words which are formed by letters from one or more words being replaced by apostrophe.

For example: don't instead of do not, or we're instead of we are.

 

Choose one contraction from the text and write the formal version in the text box below.

CORRECT ANSWER
I had
was not
could not
EDDIE SAYS
The eyewitness uses the words "I'd", "wasn't" and "couldn't", which are contracted forms of "I had", "was not" and "could not".
  • Question 5

Impersonal Language

Change this sentence from personal (I could see) to impersonal.

 

"Anyway, over the fence I could see all these neighbours around the big tree".

 

Which of the following is the best option to choose?

CORRECT ANSWER
there were
EDDIE SAYS
It needs to be plural (as there was more than one neighbour) and impersonal (not using "I"), so "there were" is the best answer.
  • Question 6

Impersonal Language

Transform this sentence from personal to impersonal:

 

I'd just had my tea

Having recently e_______  (Write the missing word in the answer box below.)

 

CORRECT ANSWER
eaten
EDDIE SAYS
The sentence "I'd just had my tea" becomes "Having recently eaten his/her tea" in the impersonal form.
  • Question 7

Impersonal Language

Transform this extract from personal to impersonal language.

 

but it was a bit dark so I couldn't really see

As it was getting dark, the witness was u_______ to see clearly. (Write the missing word in the answer box below.)

CORRECT ANSWER
unable
EDDIE SAYS
The missing word is 'unable'.
  • Question 8

Concise Expression

Concise means keeping the number of words to a minimum whilst still including all the important information; leaving out anything which doesn't need to be there.

 

Look back at the eyewitness account and decide which of the following could be completely removed from the text WITHOUT the meaning changing in any way.

CORRECT ANSWER
I wasn't really listening.
EDDIE SAYS
"I wasn't really listening" is not important to understand the meaning of the rest of the story - the other two options are.
  • Question 9

Concise Expression

Reduce this phrase to make it more concise:

 

I heard all this banging and crashing about

I heard a __________. (Write the missing word in the answer box below.)

CORRECT ANSWER
noise
EDDIE SAYS
'Noise' is the correct word here, as the eyewitness is talking about the noise made by his neighbours as they were looking at the cat, which caught his attention and is the reason that he went outside.
  • Question 10

Concise Expression

Re-read this extract from the text:

 

I couldn't really see what the big deal was, until they shone a torch, the neighbours did, and then I saw that it was stuck up there

 

Which of the following sentences is the most concise?

CORRECT ANSWER
I couldn't see until a neighbour shone a torch on the cat.
EDDIE SAYS
The second sentence is more concise, as any unnecessary information has been taken out.
---- OR ----

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