Difference Between Formal and Informal

Formal vs Informal

Formal and Informal are two words that are often confused in the English language. This is due to the improper understanding of the inner meanings of the two words. Strictly speaking there are some differences between the two words.

The word ‘formal’ refers to something that is done in accordance to rules and regulations pertaining to the occasion or the place. On the other hand the word ‘informal’ refers to something that is not done in accordance to rules and regulations pertaining to the occasion or the place. This is the main difference between the two words.

The word ‘formal’ is used in connection with dress, speech, meeting and the like. Observe the sentences

1. He wore a formal dress for the reception.

2. His speech appeared formal.

3. The meeting was conducted in a formal manner.

In all the three sentences mentioned above you can see that the word ‘formal’ is used in the sense of something that is performed in accordance to rules and regulations pertaining to an occasion or place.

Observe the sentences

1. Everything appeared informal about him yesterday.

2. His speech turned informal.

In both the sentences mentioned above you can see that the word ‘informal’ is used in the sense of something that is performed not in accordance to rules and regulations pertaining to an occasion or place. In the first sentence you get the idea that the person appeared to have swerved from everything supposed to be formal. In the second sentence you get the idea that the person who holds a very high position suddenly turned informal as far as his speech is concerned.

Formal adheres to protocol whereas informal does not adhere to protocol. These are the differences between the two words, namely, formal and informal.