Language and Linguistics

Difference between formal and informal language and examples

Formal language

The formal language is the record of speech that we use when we are in situations of greater formality and more alien to our familiarity or intimate setting. Examples could be communication between boss-employee, student-teacher or doctor-patient. Formal and informal language with differences

In addition, we leave you here below the points to which you should pay attention to identify a type of formal language:

  • Pay attention to correct grammar and spelling
  • Sentences are often long and complex
  • Use a rich and varied vocabulary
  • Usually addressed to the recipient you
  • Use synonyms or pronouns to avoid redundancies
  • Correct pronunciation
  • Avoid expressions such as idioms, vulgarisms or fillers
  • There are no omissions
  • The information is presented in a structured and coherent way
  • It does not accept diminutives or any other type of colloquial expressions


  • If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me
  • I hope you take my candidacy into account
  • Excuse me, could you tell me what time it is?
  • Due to the events that occurred last month, the city council will be forced to take precautionary measures
  • May I help you?
  • Dear Mr. Rocafonda: I am writing to inform you about …

 Informal language

On the other hand, informal language is a type of register that we carry out when we are in familiar or intimate communicative contexts . The characteristics of the informal registry are:

  • Doesn’t always follow grammar and spelling rules
  • Sentences are usually simple and short
  • They go to the receiver of you
  • Uses a rather poor, repetitive and repetitive vocabulary
  • Use of fillers, idioms or vulgarisms Formal and informal language with differences
  • The pronunciation is not always correct
  • Sometimes words are omitted so that communication is faster
  • It is a register in which expressions of a colloquial nature and with expressive features such as word games or set phrases abound.


  • Oh go! It costs an arm and a leg
  • Uncle, in what a mess you’ve gotten yourself
  • Cool we don’t have homework today!
  • Well, it’s like you have to get all the cards before the game is over.
  • I’m freaking out! When they were caught they fled without saying anything
  • You totally lost your mind for that girl

Differences between formal and informal language

Human beings tend to change the way we speak in front of another person depending on the type of relationship we have established with them and the situation in which we find ourselves. The type of language or expressions we use with our best friend when talking about the weekend plan is not the same as the way we communicate with our boss when asking for a promotion, since there is a type of closeness and records different.

This is understood in such a way that, in the same way that to attend a wedding or a job interview there is a dress code that adapts to the situation, when communicating it is also necessary to adjust our language to a formal register or informal.

  • Informal language: by general rule, informal language is understood to be that which takes place in everyday , colloquial contexts and with people close to us, in which the degree of proximity is narrow so we feel relaxed when communicating. It could be with our family, friends, classmates, etc., it is definitely the type of language that we use daily and mostly orally .
  • Formal language : while on the other hand, formal language requires certain more closed parameters , in which the relationship with the receiver is more distant and therefore more serious linguistic codes are created. For example, as when a hierarchical relationship is established, such as that of teacher-student or boss-employee.

Way of oral and written communication

Traditionally, the use of informal language has been associated mostly with oral communication , while formal language has better served a written communication . This is due to the fact that oral communication has mainly been used by speakers in situations that corresponded to their day-to-day life, relegating written communication, which was used in a much smaller percentage and with more restricted and formal purposes, to the background. Formal and informal language with differences

However, this paradigm is changing, and in fact it already has, thanks to the different forms of communication that new technologies offer us With the invention of the Internet and various electronic devices there has been a boom in terms of written communication. Emails, text messages through messaging applications, etc., have led users of a language to communicate more and more with each other in a written and informal way.

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