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Writing in Formal Language: Santa

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

'Writing in Formal Language: Santa' 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. Imagine that you are the police officer who has been sent to investigate. Firstly, read the eyewitness statement:

 

The eyewitness report:

So Evie and me were shopping in the centre because her mum had given us £20 each because we looked after the dogs all week while she was in Florida. Anyway, so we went out to spend it and we were just going into the first shop when we saw Santa. Well, it obviously wasn't Santa because of what happened next, but he was all dressed up like Santa. Anyway, we thought it was a bit early because it's only October but all the shops have already got the Christmas stuff out, haven't they, so we figured that it was just an early Christmas kids thing going on. Anyway, after a bit we get bored and went to the milkshake bit near the middle and we were just watching people and having a laugh and then we saw him again, this time he ran out of a shop, and hid round near the staff only door. Then all these security guards came out and were talking into their handsets and stuff, and the Santa guy looked at us and put his finger on his mouth like a 'shush', like you'd do for little kids and then ran off again. Anyway, that's when we called the security blokes over and showed them where he's gone. We weren't that bothered about whatever he's done, but noone treats me and Evie like babies!

 

 

Now work through the following questions to write up your report in formal and impersonal language, from the statements given to you by eyewitnesses.You can look at the eyewitness report at any time by clicking on the Help button.

To clarify what has happened, list the events in the correct order. Hover your mouse over the events to read them in full.

Column A

Column B

1st
The person hid and motioned for the witness to rem...
2nd
The witness saw someone dressed as santa.
3rd
Security guards were looking for the person.
4th
The witness later observed the same person exiting...
5th
The witness alerted the security guards to the wea...
6th
The witness was in the shopping centre.

Formal Language

Re-read this phrase from the text: "so we figured that it was just an early Christmas kids thing"

 

The word "figured" here is informal. Which of the following would be the best formal replacement for the word in this context?

felt

thought

concluded

Formal Language

Re-read this extract from the text: "after a bit we get bored and went to the milkshake bit near the middle"

 

The witness here has used the connective "and" in this sentence. Do you think they were right to use an addition connective (and, additionally, likewise, as well as), or should they have used a result connective (so, therefore, consequently)?

addition

result

Formal Langauge - Contractions

The witness uses some contractions in his or her speech, such as:

weren't... wasn't... haven't

 

This is informal language, so we try to avoid it in fornmal situations.

When we use we're, which two words are being contracted into one?

Impersonal Language

Transform the event at the very end of the passage into impersonal language:

 

"The witness objected to being treated _________  _  ________."

 

Write the three missing words in the answer box below.

Impersonal Language

Sometimes, the order of a sentence needs re-arranging when we turn it from personal into impersonal.

 

For example: "her mum had given us £20 each because we looked after the dogs all week while she was in Florida." has been transformed below. Put the phrases in the correct order.

Column A

Column B

1
the witness was given 20 pounds
2
having looked after the dogs all week
3
whilst Evie's mum was in Florida

Impersonal Language

Change this impersonal phrase back into a personal version:

 

"Well, it obviously wasn't Santa".

I didn't think it was Santa.

It couldn't have been Santa.

It was obvious that it wasn't Santa.

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.

 

1) We saw Santa. Well, it obviously wasn't Santa because of what happened next, but he was all dressed up like Santa.

2) Anyway, we thought it was a bit early because it's only October but all the shops have already got the Christmas stuff out, haven't they, so we figured that it was just an early Christmas kids thing going on.

3) Anyway, after a bit we get bored and went to the milkshake bit near the middle and we were just watching people and having a laugh and then we saw him again, this time he ran out of a shop, and hid round near the staff only door.

 

Which of these extracts could be totally removed without the meaning being changed for the rest of the story?

1

2

3

Concise Expression

Re-read this extract: "Then all these security guards came out"

 

Which of the following words could replace "came out" with more concise language?

removed

emerged

reserved

Concise Expression

Which two words could be removed completely from this extract to make it more concise?

 

"...and were talking into their handsets and stuff"

 

Write the two words in the answer box below.

  • Question 1

To clarify what has happened, list the events in the correct order. Hover your mouse over the events to read them in full.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

1st
The witness was in the shopping c...
2nd
The witness saw someone dressed a...
3rd
The witness later observed the sa...
4th
Security guards were looking for ...
5th
The person hid and motioned for t...
6th
The witness alerted the security ...
  • Question 2

Formal Language

Re-read this phrase from the text: "so we figured that it was just an early Christmas kids thing"

 

The word "figured" here is informal. Which of the following would be the best formal replacement for the word in this context?

CORRECT ANSWER
concluded
EDDIE SAYS
Concluded is the most formal word to use in this context.
  • Question 3

Formal Language

Re-read this extract from the text: "after a bit we get bored and went to the milkshake bit near the middle"

 

The witness here has used the connective "and" in this sentence. Do you think they were right to use an addition connective (and, additionally, likewise, as well as), or should they have used a result connective (so, therefore, consequently)?

CORRECT ANSWER
result
EDDIE SAYS
The witness should have used a result connective here, as they went to get a milkshake as a result of their boredom.
  • Question 4

Formal Langauge - Contractions

The witness uses some contractions in his or her speech, such as:

weren't... wasn't... haven't

 

This is informal language, so we try to avoid it in fornmal situations.

When we use we're, which two words are being contracted into one?

CORRECT ANSWER
we are
EDDIE SAYS
'We're' is the contracted form of the words 'we are'.
  • Question 5

Impersonal Language

Transform the event at the very end of the passage into impersonal language:

 

"The witness objected to being treated _________  _  ________."

 

Write the three missing words in the answer box below.

CORRECT ANSWER
like a baby
EDDIE SAYS
The witness states at the end of the report that they informed the security guards of where 'Santa' had gone because 'nobody treats me and Evie like babies'.
  • Question 6

Impersonal Language

Sometimes, the order of a sentence needs re-arranging when we turn it from personal into impersonal.

 

For example: "her mum had given us £20 each because we looked after the dogs all week while she was in Florida." has been transformed below. Put the phrases in the correct order.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

1
having looked after the dogs all ...
2
whilst Evie's mum was in Florida
3
the witness was given 20 pounds
EDDIE SAYS
"Having looked after the dogs all week whilst Evie's mum was in Florida, the witness was given 20 pounds" is the correct order for the sentence, as it turns it from personal to impersonal.
  • Question 7

Impersonal Language

Change this impersonal phrase back into a personal version:

 

"Well, it obviously wasn't Santa".

CORRECT ANSWER
I didn't think it was Santa.
EDDIE SAYS
The use of the word 'I' means that the sentence is personal.
  • 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.

 

1) We saw Santa. Well, it obviously wasn't Santa because of what happened next, but he was all dressed up like Santa.

2) Anyway, we thought it was a bit early because it's only October but all the shops have already got the Christmas stuff out, haven't they, so we figured that it was just an early Christmas kids thing going on.

3) Anyway, after a bit we get bored and went to the milkshake bit near the middle and we were just watching people and having a laugh and then we saw him again, this time he ran out of a shop, and hid round near the staff only door.

 

Which of these extracts could be totally removed without the meaning being changed for the rest of the story?

CORRECT ANSWER
2
EDDIE SAYS
The second sentence is the only one which could be removed from the report without the meaning being changed. The other two sentences provide important information that is integral to understanding the meaning of the report.
  • Question 9

Concise Expression

Re-read this extract: "Then all these security guards came out"

 

Which of the following words could replace "came out" with more concise language?

CORRECT ANSWER
emerged
EDDIE SAYS
'Emerged' is the only word which means the same as 'came out'.
  • Question 10

Concise Expression

Which two words could be removed completely from this extract to make it more concise?

 

"...and were talking into their handsets and stuff"

 

Write the two words in the answer box below.

CORRECT ANSWER
and stuff
EDDIE SAYS
"and stuff" is called a filler - it is added during speech to fill pauses in sentences, but it is not important to the meaning of the sentence.
---- OR ----

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