Back to: Pedagogy of English- Unit 5
Formal writing includes the use of standard English, less use of personal pronouns, lack of slang terms and colloquial words, and more complex sentence structures. Formal writing often includes long sentences and it also follows a more structured approach where points are introduced, explained, and concluded clearly. They are also carefully planned, revised, and reviewed several times to ensure clarity.
Informal language includes the use of nonstandard English forms, shorter sentence structures, and colloquial vocabulary. When one chooses to write in either formal or informal style, it affects certain areas which include standard or nonstandard English, use of contractions, use of pronouns, and choice of vocabulary. In informal writing, sentences, as well as paragraphs, are shorter which is particularly true for internet content. Writers may also make points using incomplete sentences or ellipses.
Difference between Formal and Informal Writing
|Formal Writing||Informal Writing|
|It is used for legal, business, or professional purposes.||It is used when we are writing for some personal or casual reason.|
|The sentences in formal writing are long and complex.||The sentences in informal writing are short and simple.|
|The language is formulaic and passive voice is used.||The language is direct and an active voice is used.|
|Interjections are not used in formal writing.||Interjections are used in formal writing.|
|The tone in formal writing is professional and official.||The tone in informal writing is personal and friendly.|
Similarities between formal and informal writing
- Both types of writing can be used to discuss the same topic or prove the same point.
- Both forms of writing must have a reference page at the end.
- Both forms of writing can have pictures inserted in them to increase the reader’s interest in the essay.
One cannot state that formal writing is better than informal writing as there is a particular time and place for both forms of writing. Hence, it depends upon the writer to analyze the situation properly and choose an appropriate writing style.