Formal and Informal Writing Examples

Formal vs. Informal – Who’s It For?

Often considered more engaging, informal writing figuratively loosens the author’s constricting tie to offer readers familiarity and character. Formal writing, on the other hand, is used to deliver information succinctly and factually.

When determining which style is appropriate, consider how you approach your audience in a face-to-face conversation. For instance, how do you speak with your peers vs. your clients? How do you speak with your boss vs. your spouse? Based on the audience, match up the tone you use verbally with the tone you use in your writing.

In addition to your audience, consider your brand. What style do you want to be the voice of your articles? Do you want to be memorable with a loose, informal approach? Or do you want to create a solid foundation of credibility based on objectivity in a formal approach? What style best represents your brand?

With your audience and brand in mind, try out these tips when writing formally or informally!

Formal and Informal Style Tips and Examples

  • Formal writing favors longer, more detailed sentences to thoroughly convey a thought.
     
  • The honey badger is a species native to Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Indian Subcontinent; however, it is most dissimilar from other badger species due to its resemblance to the weasel.

  • Informal writing favors short, simple sentences.
     
  • The honey badger can be found in Africa. It looks like a weasel-bear hybrid.

  • Formal writing tends to be direct by using jargon to be definitive.
     
  • The dorsal side and head of the Emperor Penguin is black and sharply delineated from the white belly, pale-yellow breast, and bright-yellow ear patches.

  • Informal tends to be more conversational, as well as uses contractions, abbreviations, figures of speech, slang, and other colloquialisms.
     
  • The Emperor Penguin has been hot in the news and even the box office. If you’re not sure what this lordly penguin looks like, it has a black head, bright-yellow spots around the ears, and a big ol’ white belly.

  • Formal writing uses conservative punctuation (e.g., periods, commas, etc.).
     
  • The tiger (the largest of the cat species) is the third largest land carnivore.

  • Informal writing is generous with abrupt and dramatic punctuation (e.g., exclamation marks, the ellipses, the dash, etc.).
     
  • The tiger – the biggest cat of them all – is third in line to be the largest meat-eating animal in the world!

  • Formal writing uses an impersonal tone and discusses topics with more gravity.
     
  • As scavengers, lobsters are omnivores; however, lobsters have been known to resort to cannibalism in captivity.

  • Informal writing uses an emotional tone, first or second person point-of-view, and often discusses topics with humor.
     
  • Would you consider cannibalism if you and others of your kind were held prisoner for days or weeks without food? The poor lobster – who usually feeds on fish, worms, and other plant life – often does.

Article writing is dynamic – meaning two authors of the same niche, writing about the same topics may find success by writing in either style (formal or informal). Discover which style suits your audience and your brand by testing a few of these informal or formal writing styles in your articles. Often the best approach is a balance: formal to maintain authority and informal to maintain interest. So why not give it a try?

19 Comments »


1
Jireh Gibson writes:

At this point in my writing my biggest challenge is to write compelling articles w/out sounding or coming across ‘lofty’ and yet display my ability which of course lends to credibility at the same time. I enjoyed the formal vs informal examples and appreciate the new-found information.

Comment provided September 24, 2012 at 12:17 PM

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2
Jill Tooley writes:

Two thumbs up for using animals in your sentence examples; that makes it even more interesting. Because my company uses a more informal tone, sometimes I get rusty on formal writing. Thanks for the refresher!

Comment provided September 24, 2012 at 4:47 PM

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3
Sasangka writes:

Thanks for the inspiring post.

Comment provided September 24, 2012 at 7:15 PM

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4
Randall Magwood writes:

I personally prefer “informal” styles of writing. Let’s my reader know that i’m not a faceless corporation… but instead, i’m a down-to-earth guy who has problems just like they do.

Comment provided September 24, 2012 at 8:46 PM

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Hi Randall; I understand your point however I’m not sure I agree. Although formal writing may come across as a ‘faceless corporation,’ articles written by people that prefer formal writing struggle with the same challenges, desires and goals as anyone looking to reach higher and improve their life. No matter where they find themselves as a result of circumstances that in many cases are outside of their control.
In terms of relatability I welcome your style of writing because it drawns people in and keeps them engaged in what you have to share.
Thanks for your comment, it helps me to consider the reader even more as I prepare my first set of EzineArticles..

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5
Priyajit Singh writes:

I enjoy reading informal writings…. I also prefer “informal” style… Thanks for this great post….

Comment provided September 25, 2012 at 12:16 AM

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6

Excellent article showing the two ways of writing. The informal should be used when speaking as well – almost always! As a trainer to senior people in public life, I help them to reduce the purely formal and find the simple essence. People wants to be talked WITH not talked DOWN TO.

I want permission to quote from this great article when training seminars and individuals! Thanks.

Comment provided September 25, 2012 at 3:31 AM

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7

Your point about choosing a formal or informal style, by deciding how you would speak to whatever audience you are addressing, is a fantastic tip. It makes perfect sense, and it simplifies the process of choosing a style, and even a format. When it comes to writing articles, I guess you just choose what audience you’d like to address, as you never know who will read it. Great tip and I’ll certainly put good use to it in the future.
Miriam

Comment provided September 25, 2012 at 4:07 AM

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8
Salihu S Dikko writes:

As the terms imply, the formal should be taken more serious or more official than the informal. I want to think that, informal may contain some cracking jokes, while the formal as doing or be considered official.Any way, in relation writing.

Comment provided September 25, 2012 at 9:01 AM

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9
havanna writes:

Thanks for these tips for an outstanding article.

Comment provided September 25, 2012 at 9:51 AM

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10

Excellent article showing the two ways of writing .

I also prefer “informal” style…

Thank YOU

Comment provided September 25, 2012 at 9:51 PM

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11
venchi writes:

Thanks! I’m learning a lot from this article.

Comment provided September 26, 2012 at 5:41 AM

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12
Joaseph Dabon writes:

Whew! What a load of information. But is there something that says one cannot be formal and informal at the same time? Is there a price to pay if one does?

Comment provided September 26, 2012 at 6:03 AM

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13
Huynh Kien Duc writes:

Thanks for great post

Comment provided September 26, 2012 at 8:40 PM

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14

I like this a lot! This article and series of tips reaffirms what I have been taught from an early age by my teachers. The power of the English language is not only in its punctuation and emphasis on word play, but also within the structure of the thoughts expressed. By utilizing formal and informal writing styles or a combination of the two, we can more effectively reach our target audiences. Thank you for reminding us about these finer points in article writing!

Comment provided October 1, 2012 at 11:03 PM

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15
Adeyeye Brian writes:

Thanks for these tips. I like to write the informal way because it tells of me and my worth.

Comment provided October 2, 2012 at 4:55 AM

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16
Tina Mundy writes:

I think most people like Informal style as me.

Comment provided October 16, 2012 at 5:26 AM

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17
Rudee writes:

This is a great article! I got a lot of helpful suggestions from reading it and I will have to work on formal writing, especially your section on comparing animals. Thanks for sharing.

Comment provided January 31, 2013 at 9:59 PM

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18
Amir Hossein writes:

Thanks for your informatoins that were written for us.It was very good.

Comment provided March 6, 2013 at 9:59 AM

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