How to write an informal essay

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An informal essay varies significantly from other types of essays. The difference between an informal essay from a standard formal essay is that you are writing as if you are talking to a friend in an informal essay.

Step 1: Formal and informal essays

In order to understand the difference between a formal and informal essay more clearly, let’s look at the table below.

Characteristic Informal Essay Formal Essay
Writer’s perspective
The third-person pronoun
Subject
The writer's own life and daily activities
Historical experiences, literature, etc.
Tone
Personal and subjective
General and objective
Structure
Lightly structured
Tightly structured
Vocabulary
Technical words, no jargons
Aim
Entertainment, thought expression
Evidence, theories, logical assessment

In a formal essay, the writer expresses their ideas quietly behind the words. In an informal essay, the speaker talks to the reader in a conversational manner.

When writing an informal essay, you do not need to engage in an academic writing process, but you should still avoid sloppiness.

Now that we know the general rules and definitions of an informal essay, we can continue with the steps to write a great one.

Step 2: Choose a topic

This is generally the first step of any essay writing process unless you are pre-assigned a topic already. An informal essay gives you a great opportunity in this step; you can write an informal essay on almost any topic. Here are some tips for you.

Informal essay topic tips

Put the list away for an hour after you’ve created it. Return to it later. Most probably, one topic will stand out to you more. Then, you can write about that topic. For this how-to guide, we are choosing the topic “why I stopped eating meat”.

Step 3: Create an outline

An informal essay does not need to follow a strict structure. However, it should still be coherent. Therefore, your outline does not need to be strict either. Just create one to help organize your thoughts.

Example of an informal essay outline

  1. Introduction
    1. Hook
    2. Personal insights
    3. Thesis statement

  2. Body paragraph 1
    1. Opening sentence
    2. Thoughts
    3. Referring to reader

  3. Body paragraph 2
    1. Personal touch
    2. Thoughts
    3. Stance
    4. Address

  4. Conclusion
    1. Referral
    2. Address
    3. Personal development
    4. Casual vocabulary
    5. Personal detail
    6. Concluding sentence

Step 4: Write an introduction

Now, you start the actual writing process. In the introduction of an informal essay, you can basically follow the traditional introduction guide. We provided some tips for you.

Informal essay introduction best practices

Before writing an introduction, you must first create an idea, identify a purpose, and collect information for the project.

The introduction of an informal essay should contain a thesis statement too.

Remember that this type of essay is characterized by the inclusion of the writer’s viewpoint on the chosen topic, so be sure to declare your stance clearly.

It all started with a basic order of chicken in my university cafeteria. I ate the chicken, then thought to myself, “There was an animal in my plate just a few minutes ago.” Hook: Personal introduction that intrigues the reader and has a provocative stance. This thought planted the idea of giving up meat in my brain that day. Afterward, my further research on the topic made it impossible for me to continue eating meat. Personal insights: Overview of the journey towards the idea supported in the essay- it’s clear that the stance is personal. In my journey towards vegetarianism, mainly the ethical and health aspects of consuming meat made me decide to make the transition. Thesis Statement: Revealing the points that will be discussed in the paper. Pay attention to words such as “my” and “I”.

Step 5: Write body paragraphs

Similar to other essay types, you will be writing your body paragraphs to explore your topic further.

Body paragraph tips

One of the most defining forces for me to give up eating meat was the ethical side. Opening sentence: Personal point of view which still makes a stance. We think meat consumption is innocent. However, once we come to the realization that what is on our plate is not merely meat but an animal that was once alive, I am sure we will start to look at things differently. Thoughts: Reveals personal thoughts with first-person pronouns. If you have a pet, I am sure that you love them endlessly. However, we tend to think that the animals we choose to eat are different from our pets, but they are not. Referring to reader: Connects with the reader by addressing them. This adds to the sincerity of the essay.

My cat played a huge role in my decision to go vegetarian. Personal touch: The writer talks about a specific aspect of their life, making the essay more personal. I love her to death, and I thought that other animals deserve to live just as much as she does. Thoughts: Inclusion of personal thoughts and casual language. My friends might hate me now because they have to find a restaurant with meatless options whenever they go out with me. Still, I think I would be a hypocrite if I fed and looked after my cat at home, then went out and ate another animal. Stance: Even though the structure is not formal, the essay still presents a firm stance on the subject. Take this as a food for thought. Address: Directly addressing to the reader. This detail makes the essay feel like sitting down and conversing with a friend.

Step 6: Write a conclusion

In the conclusion paragraph, you will need to summarize your main points and make a clear final comment.

Informal essay conclusion tips

I think my points could be enough for everyone to at least consider giving up meat. As I have said, ethically, there is not an understandable way for us to continue eating animals. Referral: Mention the previous parts of the essay. Especially if you love animals, I invite you to take a moment and think about this. Address: Addressing the reader, making the essay more contributive and effective. Additionally, as I have stated, vegetarianism has done more for me physically than puberty ever did. Personal development: A very personal touch to ease the reader and make the essay easier to read. It made me experience a glow-up that everyone thought to be amazing. Casual vocabulary: “Glow up” is a casual word that is frequently used by young people. However, it is also a word that professors will understand. This is because since I eat cleaner now that I have given up meat, I feel much better, and this shows its effects on my appearance. Personal detail: The writer talks about their appearance, something you can never see in a formal essay. Even if you do not care about animals, I don’t get it, but okay, I advise you to stop eating meat for your own benefit and the greater good of animals. Concluding sentence: Again, addressing the reader and using casual language to create a deeper bond. Also, a final comment that shows the writer’s determination on the subject.

Ibrahim Akturk
Ibrahim Akturk
Content editor at Tamara Research. Translation major, huge coffee and baking nerd. Addicted to good music and great articles.

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