Descriptive Writing: Register

Descriptive Writing: Register

Understanding Register in Writing

  • Register refers to the level of formality used in writing, which is influenced by the context, purpose, and audience of a piece of text.
  • Different genres and types of text require different registers – a speech might have a formal register, whereas a dialogue between friends would likely use an informal register.

Determining the Appropriate Register

  • The register you choose should be based on your understanding of the audience’s expectations. For a piece anticipated to be read by younger people, an informal register might be more engaging.
  • Consider your purpose. If you seek to inform or convince, a higher level of formality is usually appropriate.

Using Vocabulary to Set Register

  • Register is largely dictated by vocabulary choice. Formal language uses advanced, specific, and often longer words, whereas informal language utilises everyday, colloquial language.
  • Contractions (e.g., don’t, isn’t) typically belong to an informal register, while formal writing favours full word forms (do not, is not).

Structuring Sentences to Convey Register

  • Sentence structure can impact register. Formal writing may feature complex sentences with subordinate clauses, whereas informal writing tends to use simpler, shorter sentences.
  • Punctuation also plays a role. An abundance of exclamation marks, for instance, is often a characteristic of informal writing.

Adapting Register Throughout a Piece of Writing

  • While consistency is generally desirable, the register can be adapted deliberately for effect. For instance, a shift from a formal to an informal register could indicate a change in the narrator’s attitude or emotion.

Remember, the register can greatly affect the tone and perception of your writing. Selecting the right register enhances the overall coherence of your work and contributes to your writer’s voice. Keep practising with different scenarios to become comfortable in switching registers when required.