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Using information regarding diction and the elements pertaining to...

Using information regarding diction and the elements pertaining to informal and formal language, consider whether each excerpt is in either formal or informal language and briefly explain your rationale.


Then select one of the excerpts and rewrite it, changing it to either formal or informal language. 

  • If you choose the excerpt that you think is informal, change it to formal language.
  • If you select the excerpt that you think is formal, change it to informal language.


Excerpt 1


The Inaugural Address of John F. Kennedy (January 20, 1961)


The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe - the belief that rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of god.


We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that of that first revelation. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friends and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans - born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage, and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed, and which we are committed today at home and around the world.



Excerpt 2


On the Road by Jack Kerouac


Suddenly I found myself on Times Square. I had traveled eight thousand miles around the American continent and I was back on Times Square; and right in the middle of a rush hour, too, seeing with my innocent road - eyes the absolute madness and fantastic hoorair of New York with its millions and millions hustling forever for a buck among themselves, the mad dream - grabbing, taking, giving, sighing, dying just so they could be buried in those awful cemetery cities beyond Long Island City.


The high towers of the land - the other end of the land, the place where Paper America is born. I stood in a subway doorway, trying to get enough nerve to pick up a beautiful long butt, and every time I stooped great crowds rushed rushed by and obliterated it from my sight, and finally it was crushed. I had no money to go home in a bus. Peterson is quite a few miles from Times Square. Can you picture me walking those last miles through the Lincoln Tunnel or over the Washington Bridge and into New Jersey? It was dusk. Where was Hassel? I dug the square for Hassel; he wasn't there, he was in Rikers Island, behind bars. Where Dean? Where everybody? Where life? I had my home to go to, my place to lay my head down and figure the losses and figure the gain that I knew was in there somewhere too. I had to panhandle two bits for the bus. I finally hit a Greek minister who was standing around the corner. He gave me a quarter with a nervous look away. I rushed immediately to the bus.

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