When writing a letter, the writing style plays a very important role, especially when the letter is addressed to some respected or high-value person. There are two writing styles, i.e. Formal Writing and Informal Writing, wherein a formal piece of writing is one that must be clear, properly framed and well organised. On the other hand, Informal Writing is often understood as casual writing, which uses colloquial language.
Our choice of the form of writing mainly depends on the fact – to whom we are writing to? Secondly, the matter we are going to discuss in our write up also decides the writing style, because if we are writing on a serious matter, then an informal way of writing will not be considered suitable in that case. So, in this article, you will get to know the details of these two writing styles along with its do’s and don’ts.
Content: Formal Vs Informal Writing
|Basis for Comparison||Formal Writing||Informal Writing|
|Meaning||A formal writing style is one which is used for business, legal or professional purposes.||An informal writing style is used when we are writing for some personal or casual reason.|
|Sentences||Long and Complex Sentences||Short and Simple Sentences|
|Voice||Passive Voice||Active Voice|
|Personal pronoun||Third person||First and second person|
|Tone||Professional and official||Personal and friendly|
Definition of Formal Writing
A formal piece of writing is used when we do not have any idea of the person, or when we know the person but haven’t exchanged words, or we are not having familiar terms with the person who receives the letter. Here, we use formal language which indicates dignified and deferential regard for the reader. It is used when writing for academic, professional and legal purposes.
Formal Writing is a bit difficult as we have to consider some important points are to be kept in mind with respect to:
- Word choice and tone should be polite.
- No use of first and second person singular pronouns
- Use of positive and literal language and academic vocabulary.
- Avoiding repetition and over generalisation.
- Use of proper spelling, grammar and punctuation
- No use of contractions, cliche, colloquial diction and abbreviations
- Sentences are fully elaborated and concluded.
- Avoid use of jargons.
- No emotional language
- No statistics without proper reference.
- Full of objectivity, as proper evidence, should be there to support your argument.
Definition of Informal Writing
The informal style of writing is one used for personal and casual conversation, wherein friendly and colloquial language is used. In an informal writing style, personal and emotional tone is used, and the reader is directly referred by the words ‘you’ or ‘your’. It is used when writing personal emails, text messages, letters to friends and family etc. It is a direct form of writing which uses:
- Contractions, abbreviations and short sentences are used.
- Use of ordinary, short and simple sentences.
- Personal and subjective
- Loosely structured
- Use of first and second person pronoun.
- Acceptable use of slang and cliche
- Imperative sentences can be used
Key Differences Between Formal and Informal Writing
The differences between formal and informal writing can be drawn clearly on the following grounds:
- Formal writing is that form of writing which is used for the business, legal, academic or professional purpose. On the other hand, informal writing is one which is used for personal or casual purpose.
- Formal writing must use a professional tone, whereas a personal and emotional tone can be found in informal writing.
- In formal writing, use of slang is not at all common, whereas we normally use slang in informal writing.
- When it comes to language, we use formulaic language in formal writing, which contain a set form of words. As against, informal writing is direct.
- We use passive voice in a formal piece of writing. In contrast, in an informal piece of writing, we use active voice.
- In formal writing, linking words are used, instead of conjunctions which are used in case of informal writing.
- In formal writing, interjections are usually avoided, and so exclamation marks are not used. Conversely, in informal writing, interjections are commonly used.
- In a formal piece of writing, when we refer to audience 1st person plural or third person singular is used. On the contrary, informal piece of writing, we use 1st person singular form to refer to the audience.
Both formal and informal writing is used in our day to day life but in different situations. We just need to think about the reader and the topic of your discussion, before choosing the writing style. When the topic is quite serious and objective, the formal writing style is suitable. It is also used when the write up is addressed to some respectable person or institution.
On the other hand, informal writing is best suited when you are communicating with your family, friends and acquaintances. Further, if the matter of discussion is not very serious, then also informal writing can be used, subject to, you are comfortable with the reader, in talking informally.