Key Difference Between Casual and College Writing

If you’re wondering what the difference between college writing and casual writing is, not to worry. This article addressses the question.

What Is College Writing?

College writing refers to the style of academic writing you will do after you finish high school or in the field of academics.

Its goal is to make the students writing more strategic and help them become better writers. This type of writing is more formal and has its own set of rules and structures compared to other writing styles.

The most common types of college-level writing include essays, abstracts, term papers, research projects, reports, and dissertations.

Most professors will require clear and concise writing to back your claims unless you pursue creative writing. Scholars or students of the same discipline are the target audience or readers of college writing.

Whichever writing it may be, the goal is to convey information to earn a good grade.

What Is Casual Writing?

Casual writing is typically meant to be read exclusively by the author and is not intended for distribution or publication. It is non-professional or non-collegiate in nature. This is the type of writing we do on a daily basis.

The text may be set in the author’s personal experience, a place, or thing, without too much embellishment. The focus is typically on the more emotional aspects of the subject.

Essentially, casual writing includes blogs, advertising, posters, tweets, and Facebook posts and also includes diary entries and journals.

Although proper spelling and grammar are required in casual writing, they are not as stringent as in academic writing. Casual writing is not expected to use all grammar rules and punctuation norms.

A black framed eyeglasses and black pen on a notebook
Photo by Trent Erwin on Unsplash

Difference Between College Writing and Casual Writing

Understanding the key difference between college writing and casual writing is essential.

College writing differs from casual writing in that it follows guidelines that help students know what they’re doing and how they should do it. Students need to be familiar with the technicalities and principles of writing first.

They can then go on to create their own broad or narrow range of language depending on what they are writing. Let’s explore the major differences between the two modes of writing below.

1. Language

College or academic writing is formal, objective, and technical. It is formal because it avoids casual or conversational language and informal terminology.

It is impersonal and objective because it focuses on facts, ideas, and objects instead of referencing people or sentiments. College journals and reports are usually written in formal language, addressing complex or sensitive topics.

The language in casual writing is informal or semi-formal. The way you communicate with close friends and family members is referred to as casual speech.

It involves communication in everyday settings, such as talking on the phone or shopping at the store. Articles in magazines and newspapers are written in a more accessible language and are more casual and opinion-based.

2. Slang

Casual writing is primarily based on a conversational or informal style. It involves using figures of speech, slang, broken syntax, or colloquial language to emphasize emotions. You can also include your own opinions in writing.

In the case of college writing, you should never use informal vocabulary or slang. It’s best to avoid idiomatic expressions or slang to make your essay more formal and credible.

3. Referencing & citations

In academic writing, the professors usually expect research. Therefore, you sometimes need to include a direct quote or paragraph content from sources to support your argument. You must use referencing and cite the sources correctly in your writing. The citing should be according to what your professor suggests or prefers.

However, there’s not always a need for referencing and citing sources in casual writing. You rarely need to back up your claims. It doesn’t require you to explain your beliefs or support your opinion with credible sources. You can present your views as “take it or leave it.”

4. Contractions

If you are uncertain of the rules for formal academic writing, it’s best to avoid using contractions. Traditionally, contractions for academic essays or reports are not encouraged.

However, you can use abbreviations or contractions for creative and casual writing, just like regular everyday conversations.

Wrapping Up

The difference between college writing and casual writing is that they are two writing modes that have different standards and guidelines.

Casual wording tends to come more easily, whereas college writing is when language gets past common norms and restrictions. It’s important to learn the difference in order to utilize the appropriate voice or tone while maintaining audience comprehension.

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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