More than often we use different writing styles while writing official emails and letters to friends. These two basic different styles are termed as formal and informal styles of writing, respectively.
Example 1: This is to inform you that your application for the job has been approved and you are hereby requested to be present tomorrow at 11.30 a.m. for a personal round of interview at our office.
Example 2: Hey, guess what I have been called for a personal round of interview tomorrow. I am so happy. Wish me luck to perform well tomorrow.
The difference between the above two written communications is obvious – the first one being formal one and the second, the informal one. So, what are basic differences between formal and informal writing?
Well, it the style and the tonality of the language used by the writer. And ideally, the writer should first analyze the situation, the context, and the recipient and accordingly determine the tone, vocabulary, and the style to be used before finally concluding to write.
Here’s a list of basic differences between formal and informal writing:
- Colloquial words
Colloquial words and expressions are usually avoided in formal writings.
Informal writing is as good as spoken conversation. Thus, it may include a number of colloquial words and phrases, slang language, etc. Informal writing uses a personal tone to relate directly to the reader.
- Usage of person
Personal style of writing is avoided in formal writing. Except for business letters, formal writing is usually in third person. In formal writing, the writer is disconnected from the subject matter and hence does use the point of view of the first person i.e. I, we or second person i.e. you.
Whereas, informal writing is everything, first, second, or third person is taken into consideration depending upon the context.
- Abbreviated words
It is advisable to use full-words and avoid using abbreviated words in formal writing. Words like photograph, television, etc. are used in full in formal writing.
Informal writing is full of short forms and abbreviations. The Photograph becomes photo, television becomes TV, etc.
- Active voice and passive voice
Passive voice is used for formal writing.
On the other hand, active voice is used in informal writing.
- Sentence formation
Longer sentences are used in formal writing. The information should be as detailed and as elaborated as possible in formal style of writing. Every point should have an introduction, elaboration, and conclusion.
Informal writing is made up of much shorter sentences. Information shared is brief and in an informal tone.
While these are the basic differences between the two, it must be noted that none of them is incorrect. It is simply situational in nature. Formal writing is required in academic, business or official communications, and informal is preferred for communication with friends, family and close ones. The choice between the two should be made after considering who you are writing to and why you are writing.
In order to be sure of your writing and grammar, use NounPlus which is a free online English sentence checker for use by one and all.