Formal vs. Informal Writing: Who’s the Audience?

Before you start writing an article, one of the first things you need to ask yourself is “Who’s my audience?”

Pinning down your target audience is a crucially-important step in your effort to communicate clearly.

Miss the mark by not taking a topic seriously enough and you run the risk of alienating that core audience. On the other hand, take too formal of an approach to a lighthearted topic and you’ll appear rigid and unemotional.

So, you really have to know exactly what group of people you’re writing the article for to ensure you communicate in the best possible way. Watch this video to discover the differences between formal and informal writing to help you gear your writing in the right direction.

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Formal Writing

  • Tends to be complex and thorough
  • Takes on more serious topics in a very direct way
  • Uses longer sentences and each of the main points are introduced, elaborated on and concluded
  • Uses full words, not contractions or abbreviations
  • States the main points objectively and confidently and also offers a full support of arguments
  • Not a personal writing style, there are very few emotions included

Informal Writing

  • Tends to be more conversational
  • Uses figures of speech and slang
  • Keeps it short with contractions and abbreviations
  • Conveys a more personal, emotional tone
  • Speaks directly to the audience by using words like “you” and “your”
  • Uses shorter sentences

Think about your audience and the topic of your article. Adopt a formal style when you’re taking on a more serious, objective topic. And write informally when you’re comfortable and familiar with your readers.

In the end, you have to make the decision of which style of writing is best for your articles.

It’s in your hands now, so go write and submit a brand new set of quality, original formal or informal articles.


Tashana writes:

Cute, very very cute. I love it. As a writer, getting the message across to your audience is key, and this video did just that – in a very informal and humorous way. Thanks

Comment provided August 15, 2011 at 12:13 PM


Rajiv Sighamony writes:

A good article should be informal and it should also have some elements of formal style.

Comment provided August 15, 2011 at 2:24 PM


Lance Winslow writes:

I swear ya’all has da bestest videos.

Comment provided August 15, 2011 at 8:41 PM


rob writes:

Hi there, read the email but not had time view the vid (about to teach) will watch in a bit, but would you say writing reviews in general a mixture of formal and informal.

Be it HDTV’s or antiaging products?

Comment provided August 15, 2011 at 8:44 PM


Karen writes:

I suppose it is better to write formal articles on topics such as diseases and their cures? But I’ve come across articles on such topics written in an informal way and yet still get their message across in a serious manner. Interesting.

Comment provided August 16, 2011 at 12:59 AM


Kieran Gracie writes:

In the end I think that each of us will develop an individual style that is a sort of formal/informal hybrid, because our readership is likely to be a large cross-section of types no matter what the subject of the article.

Sometimes I write with humor, sometimes with irony, but always – I hope – respectfully.

Comment provided August 16, 2011 at 4:30 AM


Walter Reich writes:

From this video I feel the informal is my way to go.

Comment provided August 16, 2011 at 8:01 PM


Leather Expert writes:

Since society and culture are becoming more and more informal, shouldn’t our writing style reflect society? People would relate to the articles a lot more.


Comment provided August 18, 2011 at 6:15 AM



Great clear video on the difference between formal and informal writing.

I agree that knowing your target audience writing style is important, however there are many more factors to take into account in writing style that are also very important, such as your target audience language and demographic accomplished through niche and keyword research.

Rock on!


Comment provided August 19, 2011 at 5:29 AM


Jesse Finch writes:

I think the way of writing really depends on the audience…as someone mentioned before writing about cures and diseases…if it is an essay or assignment it is most likely to be better in formal way, but if for example it is a blog, it is fine being informal. Also, there are some people that write better formally rather than informally.


Comment provided August 30, 2011 at 8:51 AM


marcos writes:

I believe that more shocking writing is the one which has the correct words and grammar to express your ideas, and like Kieran said every body has own style to write. Personally I like write with some touch of humor but without get out the topic. The way how the system teach us is really to try to stereotype our mind and think in standard way……open your third eye and you will see it.

Comment provided April 27, 2015 at 2:18 AM


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