Difference Between Formal Writing and Informal Writing (With Table)

Formal Writing vs 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 or informal writing is utilized depending on the circumstances of the case and the intended audience.

The 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.

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 tone Has 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 colloquialism More 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/ exclamations No 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
Utilization Formal 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
Example John 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. That means formal writing has certain rules which need to be used or kept in perspective in the writing so that it can be called as formal 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. In all workplaces, formal writing is in prevalence and some organizations may have strict etiquette on what should be included and excluded in formal writing.

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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 if used in a correct sense may convey significant respect to the intended recipient.

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 also uses a lot of first and second-person pronouns such as “I”, We”, “‘you’. Informal writing may also have a lot of emotional overdose in the conversation.

Informal writing will not have any specific rules to be followed for making the conversation. Informal writing will have straightforward and short sentences. The words in informal writing may be loosely organized or structured. The conversation may be filled with slang if it is an informal writing. 

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
Informal: May use colloquial words/expressions/slang (kids, guy, awesome, a lot, etc.). Example: The D-flip flop was hooked up to the board. Example: Y’all come with us. Formal: Avoid using colloquial words/expressions (substitute with children, man/boy, wonderful, many, etc.) Example: The D-flip flop was connected to the board for testing. Example: All of you come with us. Informal: May use contractions (can’t, won’t, shouldn’t, etc.). Formal: Avoid contractions (write out full words – cannot, will not, should not, etc.).

Main Differences Between Formal Writing and Informal Writing

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



Formal writing and informal writing serve contrasting purposes. Both of them constitute a style or fashion of writing or expressing one’s thoughts. It is important to assess multiple factors such as the purpose of writing, the intended audience, and content being written before adopting one style over another.

Formal writing will be more preferred when communication is being addressed to higher authorities whereas an informal writing will be very apt when writing a personal note to such higher authorities or any friends.

Also, formal writing is the best choice for any writing on any important matter whereas informal writing would be apt for writing on any casual matters. It is advisable to understand the intrinsic aspects of both these writing styles to adapt the best one in the appropriate situation.


Word Cloud for Difference Between Formal Writing and Informal Writing

The following is a collection of the most used terms in this article on Formal Writing and Informal Writing. This should help in recalling related terms as used in this article at a later stage for you.

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