As a general rule, you should use formal register when writing an academic essay. Register refers to the tone and connotation of your word choice. Examples of formal versus informal register are provided below:

Informal                                    Formal
people                                   Individuals
Good                                       Beneficial
Bad                                        Detrimental
Let                                                Allow
Right away                            Immediately
poor                               Indigent/impoverished
Hard                                   Difficult/vigorous
Look deeper/look into    Inspect closely
Good vibes                     Pleasant atmosphere
At the beginning                    Initially
Boss                                        Employer
Huge hit                           Popular/successful
Think ahead                   Demonstrate prudence
Guy/girl                                Man/woman

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