IELTS, TOEFL & TOEIC: Informal Language on your Speaking test?

ScottsEnglishScottsEnglish Administrator Posts: 1,065 admin ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
edited May 2017 in Speaking
Is it okay to use informal language in your speaking test?

The short answer is 'yes'.

Speaking is typically less formal and writing is more formal. Therefore, you can use more informal words.  Here are some examples, so you understand:

Formal (written)
Informal (spoken)

Children tend to enjoy video games.

Kids really like video games.

It is one of the best ways to learn English.

It’s one of the best ways to learn English.

Regrettably, they had to terminate my contract.

Regrettably, they had to end my contract.

He was an exceptional student!

He was a great student!

Yes, I would say so.

Yea, I’d say so.


The TOEIC test encourages informal  spoken language. The fourth and fifth section of the exam specifically ask you to propose a solution and to express an opinion. You can use the first person (I think that, in my opinion, I feel, It is my experience) for this speaking exam.

The first two sections of the TOEFL speaking test are similar. In the first section, you need to give a personal preference and talk about something that is personal to you. In the second section, you will be given a choice and you have to give reasons for the choice that you make. In both of these sections, you can, and should, use the first person and an informal speaking style.

Please write some more examples of formal (written) vs informal (spoken) language in the comment boxes below.


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