Formal language: blue whale

2 - The Grammar Bit

The Grammar Bit!

When you interact with your family and friends, you will most likely be using an informal speaking (or writing) style. However, there will be times in your life when you will need to adopt a more formal style in the way that you communicate your thoughts and ideas. With your talk partner, discuss when you might need to use a formal writing style.

The letters opposite (by Molly, aged 11 and Arthur, aged 13) are to the president of the IMO (International Maritime Organisation). They were written in response to the children’s deep concern for the blue whale and other whale species after learning that many have died in recent years through collisions with large ships.

Arthur chose to write his letter using an informal writing style, while Molly chose a more formal style. With your talk partner, compare and contrast the language used in both letters. Whose letter stands the best chance of success and why?

Scintillating Sentences

Informal Writing Style

Hi There,

With more and more ugly ships delivering stuff around the world, more and more whales are getting injured and killed. Ships are now faster and bigger and whales just can’t seem to get out of their way in time.

What’s more, ship engines make loads of noise and this can stop whales from hearing each other. The engines are so loud that they can even deafen the poor blighters.

Clearly, something needs to be done right now to save these poor critters. It makes sense to keep the boats and the whales apart – don’t you think?

Let me know what you’re gonna do about the stuff I’ve raised,

Arthur (aged 13)

Formal Writing Style

Dear Sir,

I am deeply concerned about the number of whale deaths that have been caused by ship strikes in recent years.

Migratory whales, which are often travelling between feeding and breeding grounds, are simply unable to get out of the way of a ship’s path in time. The resulting collision often leads to serious injury or death.

Furthermore, the engines of large cargo vessels create considerable noise pollution. This affects a whale’s ability to communicate and greatly reduces its chance of survival.

It is my firm belief that ship-free safe corridors need to be made for whales. Without these, the world’s great cetaceans will continue to be seriously threatened.

Yours faithfully,

Molly (aged 11)

Did you know?

The blue whale is one of the loudest animals on the planet. Scientists think blue whales can hear each other’s groans and moans over distances of 1,000 miles.