Difference Between Formal and Informal Letter

Formal vs Informal Letter

Writing letter these days has become restricted to business and governmental organizations as mobile have taken over this mode of communication as people prefer to SMS each other not bothering to write. However, the importance of writing letters can never be underestimated. It has to be understood that writing to a letter is certainly different from writing to the principal of your college as you are informal with your friend while you are required to behave formally with your principal. There are differences in writing styles of formal and informal letters that shall be highlighted in this article.

Do you notice the difference when you are reading a text book and when you are reading a movie magazine? Obviously you do. The whole style of writing gets changed as it is all academic and scientific in a text book while it is like telling a story to a friend in case of a gossip magazine. As the setting changes so do tone, syntax, and entire vocabulary. There are no slang in a text book while movie magazine is full of slang. You can understand the difference between a formal and informal letter visualizing yourself well dressed for a wedding with the tie when you go out to a casual beach party with your friends.

Formal Letters

Formal letters are sent to organizations, government departments, chair holders, etc to make complaints, requests, inquiries, orders etc. In case of formal letters, the person to whom you are addressing the letter is not a friend or any other person known to you. Your tone is full of respect making use of formal words and sentences to create a nice impression on the recipient. Formal letter follow a set format where you write the name, designation, and address of the recipient on the top left while your own name and address at the top right. You sign off at the bottom left under yours truly or yours faithfully.

Informal Letters

Informal letters are written to friends and relatives. The purpose of writing a letter is not to make a complaint or inquiry, and the tone is also casual. The words used can be colloquial and slang, and you are not there to create an impression. Informal letters can be considered a freestyle swimming where you are free to write in the style and tone as you wish. There is no set format, and there is no need to be using formal style and tone.


What is the difference between Formal and Informal Letter?

• The purpose of writing an informal letter is totally different from the purpose of a formal letter.

• The content of the two styles is also different.

• The style of greeting and addressing the letter is different.

• There is a set format for formal letters while there is no set structure for an informal letter.

• Slang and colloquial words can be used in an informal letter but not in a formal letter.