There’s a lot to consider when you’re writing for your blog. What writing style to use – formal style or informal?
You have the format, theme, length of the post, and many more elements that play into what makes up a quality blog post.
But there are two types of posts – formal or informal? What’s the difference between these styles? Why would I use one over another in my blogging process? And how do I decide which style is better suited for me on any given day with different content or topic at hand?
Let’s explore some of these questions and more.
What Is Formal Writing?
A formal writing style is a type of written language that uses complex grammatical rules, correct spelling, and sentence structure to achieve an air of formality. Writers use the formal style when they do not know the recipient, the person, or when they do but are not familiar with them.
Formal style refers to a serious tone, long words, professional and polite writing approach.
For example, writers avoid pronouns like – we, I, they, you, etc. Instead, they substitute these pronouns with passive voice.
Informal – They asked the CEO whether the company was ready to address the challenges caused by pandemics, and he answered that everything was on track.
Formal – When asked about the financial challenges caused by pandemics, CEO Moise stated that the group was ready to address it.
Also, the formal writing style includes less emotion in texts and builds the foundation on objectivity.
It’s often used in business documents such as reports and proposals.
What Are the Characteristics of Formal Writing?
Formal writing is typically seen as more objective than informal writing. It tries to avoid slang, figures of speech, and abbreviated words. The use of the first-person is discouraged, and contractions and acronyms are to be avoided unless the acronym is more common than the written out phrase.
- Developing a complex structure – does not mean that the text should be hard to understand. Instead, a formal writing style offers us a more structured approach, prioritized clarity, and logical connections between sentences. No surprises, as this style requires planning, review, and a strategic approach.
- Referring to full words instead of acronyms or contractions – the formal style does not acknowledge the acronyms like MS, NASA, and contractions like don’t, won’t, etc.
- Writing in the third person – formal style does not connect with a personal writing approach.
- Being objective – formal style supports main points with arguments and excludes emotion and subjectivity from the text.
When to Use Formal Style of Writing?
The answer to this question depends on the target audience you are writing for. If your goal is to appear professional in front of someone, a formal writing style is your go-to option.
Formal writing is familiar in professional and academic settings where language is more objective and less personal.
Also, if you reach out to someone you don’t know well, start a conversation with him in a formal style.
Generally, writers use the formal style in:
- business communications
- legal documents
- Academic research
- academic writing
- Official Emails
- news coverage
- job application
How Can You Improve Your Use of Formal Language?
When most people think about formal language, they imagine complex sentence structures and rare use of personal pronouns. However, there are other ways to make your writing more formal. For instance, you can choose traditional vocabulary over colloquial expressions. Additionally, you can use longer sentences and avoid contractions.
Although it’s important to use formal language in certain situations, sometimes it’s not necessary to be so strict with the rules. In cases where you have a personal connection with the reader, it’s okay to ease up on the formality a bit. Just make sure that your writing still sounds professional and polished.
Finally, when writing professionally, always remember your audience. Keep in mind that not everyone will be familiar with informal expressions or slang words. When in doubt, stick with standard English and avoid using too much jargon or specialized terminology.
What Are Some Common Mistakes People Make When Using Formal Language?
When most people think of formal language, they often think of it as being stuffy or difficult to understand. However, with a few simple tips, you can avoid common mistakes and make your writing more polished and professional.
One common mistake is using overly complex words when simpler alternatives would suffice. Another mistake is dressing up casual phrases in an attempt to sound more sophisticated. As a general rule, it’s best to stick to standard terms unless you’re certain that the more specialized word is required.
Another common pitfall is getting too personal or informal in your writing. Remember that formal language should be used for business or legal documents, not for friendly conversations with friends and family members. Finally, avoid using contractions such as “can’t” or “won’t” in formal writing – instead, use the full forms “cannot” and “will not”.
What Is Informal Style of Writing?
The best way to describe the informal writing style is the way you speak to your friends, family members, and anyone involved in casual activities and situations.
Contrary to the formal writing style, informal is open to the use of slang colloquialisms and even, in some situations, tolerates grammar and spelling mistakes.
The informal style is free of restrictions and refers to cliches, abbreviations, active voice writing, humor, sarcasm, etc.
The informal writing supports the active use of first and second-person pronouns and the integration of emotional aspects.
What Are Characteristics of Informal Writing Style?
By looking at texts, you can easily detect what kind of style the writer integrated into the piece.
- Personal tone – this writing style is conversational. The writer approaches the reader as a friend. Just like we do it in our blog. We use the second person to address you and directly talk with you.
- Colloquial language – instead of formal speech and academic writing, the informal style includes unconstrained words and language. Some examples include: gonna, wanna, gotta, y’all.
- Short sentences – Just like in regular conversations, the sentence structure is not complex and tends to favor short-length sentences instead of long ones.
- Abbreviations – if you write informally, you can abbreviate the words, and instead of “it is not”, write “it’s not”. If you mention “television” in the text, you can go for “TV”.
- Empathy – as a more personal writing method, writers make their feelings and emotions clear to their audience.
When to Use Informal Style of Writing?
- Personal emails
- Text messages
- Informal blog posts
- personal blogging
- Creative writing
What Are the Key Differences Between Formal and Informal Writing?
- Formal writing is impersonal – while informal writing is personal.
- The formal style contains long sentences – while the informal retains short.
- The formal style favors the passive voice and the informal active voice.
- Formal style integrates the official tone while the informal prioritizes the friendly.
- The formal style writes in the third person – whereas the informal opts for the first and second person.
- The formal style does not favor slang, abbreviations, or colloquial language. But, the informal writing style gives a green light.
Each style has its benefits, so choose the right one for the right situation.
If you’re ever in doubt, remember that formal writing is usually the better choice for business or academic purposes. On the contrary, informal writing is usually the better choice for creative writing or for communicating with friends.
Looking for help with your writing? Check out great content for all your content needs! We’ve got a team of talented writers who can help you with any writing style, from formal to informal, and everything in between.