8 Difference between Formal and Informal Writing with Comparison Table

What is the difference between formal and informal writing?

Writing is a type of communication and the purpose usually determine the style of writing. Therefore, writing can either be formal or informal depending on the purpose. The lesson provides the difference between formal and informal writing with examples to make things easier for understanding. Let’s find out:

Difference between Formal and Informal Writing

What Is Formal Writing?

Formal writing is a style that tends to be clear, properly framed and well-organized. It is frequently used when writing for academic, professional and legal purposes.

Main Features of Formal Writing

  1. Should use polite word choice and tone
  2. First and second person singular pronouns are not used
  3. Use positive and literal language
  4. No repetition and overgeneralization
  5. Proper spelling, grammar and punctuation
  6. No use of cliché, contradiction, and colloquial diction
  7. Use elaborated and concluded the sentence
  8. No use of jargons
  9. No emotional language
  10. Contain proper evidence for support of the argument

What Is Informal Writing?

Informal writing is one use of personal and casual conversation which is friendly and colloquial language is used. It is frequently used when addressing a friend or a colleague.

Main Features of Informal Writing

  1. Has personal and emotional tone
  2. Use of colloquial language
  3. Loosely structured
  4. Use of slang and cliché
  5. Use of imperative sentence
  6. Use of first and second person singular pronoun

Comparison Chart: Formal Vs Informal Writing

Basic TermsFormal WritingInformal Writing
MeaningIt is a writing style that serves as an official and professional purpose only.It is a writing style that serves the personal and unprofessional purpose
Contractions and SlangsNo use of slangs and contractionsQuite commonly used when writing
AbbreviationsNot allowedTend to be used
SentencesLong and Complex SentencesShort and Simple Sentences
LanguageFormulaicDirect
VoicePassive VoiceActive Voice
Personal pronounThird-personThe first and second person
ToneProfessional and officialPersonal and friendly

Core Differences between Formal and Informal Writing

  1. Informal writing is quite common in speaking whereas formal writing is common in writing.
  2. Formal writing is objective whereas informal writing is subjective
  3. Formal writing is for impersonal use whereas informal writing is personal use.
  4. Informal writing encourages the use of slangs while formal writing does not encourage at all.
  5. The voice of formal writing is passive while that of informal writing is active
  6. The personal pronoun of formal writing is the third person whereas informal writing is the first and second person.
  7. The language used in formal writing is formulaic whereas in informal writing is direct.
  8. The tone used in formal writing is official and professional whereas in informal writing is personal and friendly.
  9. Informal writing encourages used of interjections while formal writing does not encourage interjections.
  10. The sentences used in formal writing are long and complex whereas in informal writing are short and simple.

Comparison Video

Summary

Both formal and informal writings are commonly used but depending on the situation. The difference between formal and informal writing highlighted in the guide are enough to differentiate the two terms.

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