What’s the Difference: Formal vs. Informal Writing Styles

There are some good points here on formal versus informal writing, so I thought I’d share.


Two pairs of shoes – new business shoes and old tennis shoes

Have you ever wondered if you are using the right tone of voice in your writing? When is it appropriate to just write like you would talk to a friend? The most important concept to note when deciding between formal vs. informal writing is that before beginning any writing assignment, think about who will be reading it (what are they expecting it to be?)  and then decide what style to use.


This style is more like having a spoken conversation with someone. Includes: personal tone, slang, figures of speech, simple sentences, contractions, abbreviations, 1st/2nd/3rd person, expressions, and emotion.

  • Use the ampersand: &
  • Contractions: can’t, won’t, don’t
  • Personal pronouns: I and You
  • Sentence starters: And, But, So


This style is more complex and proper. You would introduce your main points, elaborate, and conclude using thorough, full explanations and correct grammar. Avoid: emotive punctuation (i.e.”!”, “…”, etc.), contractions, abbreviations, 1st…

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