Difference Between Formal Writing and Informal Writing

Writing is a way to express facts, opinions, beliefs, and many other aspects. Writing can be done through formal writing or informal writing.

Formal Writing vs Informal Writing

The main difference between Formal Writing and Informal Writing is that formal writing is more professional, in nature, and mainly utilized for business or education purposes, while informal writing is personal and utilized for casual purposes.

Formal writing vs Informal writing

However, the above is not the only difference. A comparison between both the terms on certain parameters can shed light on subtle aspects:


Comparison Table Between Formal Writing and Informal Writing (in Tabular Form)

Parameter of ComparisonFormal WritingInformal Writing
MeaningWriting which is more professional and official in toneWriting which is more personal and casual
Personal aspectLacks personal touchHas a personal touch to the writing
Type of toneHas a professional tone to the writingLacks a professional tone to the writing. Informal writing has a casual tone.
Type of voicePassive voiceActive voice
Use of colloquialismNo use of colloquialismMore use of colloquialism
Use of words such as “I”, “We”No use of or rare use of words like “I”, “We”More use of words like “I”, “We”
Usage of slangNo use of slang as formal writing is mostly written for business or official purposeUsage of slang is prevalent
Type of sentencesComplicated and longSimple, short and straightforward
Use of interjections/ exclamationsNo use of interjections or exclamationsThere is frequent use of interjections or exclamation marks
Use of contractionsLessMore
Use of emotional languageNoYes
Structuring of wordsWords are perfectly structuredWords can be loosely structured
UtilizationFormal writing is used for business purposes (especially writing to any client or superiors), professional purpose, education, or academic purpose.Informal writing is used for writing personal emails, personal or quick invitations. Informal writing may be used with care in official communication but use will be very rare.
Intended audienceBusiness people, university people, professional stakeholdersFriends, family
ExampleJohn is believed to be not reliableI believe that John is not reliable, don’t you think so?
Time usageMore time and efforts will be required to construct formal writingLess efforts and time will be required to develop an informal writing


What is Formal Writing?

Formal writing as the name denotes means writing of a formal nature. In other words, formal writing is written following certain rules of writing.

Formal writing is used for formal purposes. Formal purpose can be varied but something quite common could be a situation where a person is not very friendly with the other person to whom the communication is being made or person is writing to someone in an official capacity.

Formal writing may be considered difficult to write because of the inclusion of certain rules such as choice of correct words, avoiding repetition of words, avoiding any emotional tone or jargon, and other aspects.

Formal writing comes with long and compound sentences and the use of passive voice. Further, formal writing will not use personal pronouns such as “I”, “We”, “You”, etc.Formal writing is commonly used for business purposes, academics, and any other professional purposes.

formal writing

What is Informal Writing?

Informal writing as the name denotes is writing of informal nature. In other words, informal writing is a writing which has a relaxed, friendly, or unofficial style, or manner.

Informal writing is full of colloquialism meaning it is full of casual, informal, friendly, and maybe even slangy writing. There is a strong usage of active voice in the informal writing and the focus is on the subject.

Informal writing will not have any specific rules to be followed for making the conversation. Informal writing will have straightforward and short sentences.

Informal writing is commonly used for personal, ordinary, familiar, or and casual communication or conversation. Informal writing if not used in a proper sense may even hurt the feelings of the intended recipients.

informal writing

Main Differences Between Formal Writing and Informal Writing

  1. Formal writing is professional. Informal writing is personal.
  2. Formal writing does not use colloquialism. Informal writing makes use of colloquialism.
  3. Formal writing is used for business, professional and academic writings. Informal writing is utilized for writing personal emails.
  4. Formal writing will utilize passive voice. Informal writing will utilize active voice.
  5. Formal writing does not use slang. Informal writing may use slang.
  6. Formal writing will have long and compound sentences. Informal writing will have short, straightforward and easy sentences.



People often confuse Article writing with Essay writing. This is because the term Essay is sometimes used to refer to any form of written composition.

Nevertheless, what distinguishes an Essay from an Article is that the former is more structured, coherent and well researched than the latter. Also, the former expresses the writer’s views while the latter does not.

Key Differences Between Formal Writing and Informal Writing (PDF Format)

Download the key differences in .PDF format, to read or print them later:

Difference Between Formal Writing and Informal Writing


  1. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0093650210362465
  2. https://www.degruyter.com/downloadpdf/journals/text/23/3/article-p321.xml
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