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.
- Informal writing favors short, simple sentences.
- Formal writing tends to be direct by using jargon to be definitive.
- Informal tends to be more conversational, as well as uses contractions, abbreviations, figures of speech, slang, and other colloquialisms.
- Formal writing uses conservative punctuation (e.g., periods, commas, etc.).
- Informal writing is generous with abrupt and dramatic punctuation (e.g., exclamation marks, the ellipses, the dash, etc.).
- Formal writing uses an impersonal tone and discusses topics with more gravity.
- Informal writing uses an emotional tone, first or second person point-of-view, and often discusses topics with humor.
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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?