Language and Linguistics

Formal and informal language

Differences between formal and informal language

Formal and informal language

The phenomenon of formal and informal language is very important to understand, while living in a community we utter both formal and informal language according to situation.

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 that 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 asked for a promotion, since there is a type of closeness and records different.

This is understood in such a way that, in order 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 record or informal.

  • Informal language : by general general, informal language is understood as the one that develops 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 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 further away and therefore more serious linguistic codes are created. For example, as when establishing a hierarchy relationship such as teacher-student or head-employee.

Route of oral and written communication

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

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

Characteristics of formal language with examples

Examples could be a communication between boss-employee, student-teacher or doctor-patient. In addition, we leave you here below the points to which you should pay attention to identify a type of formal language:

  • Attend to correct grammar and spelling
  • The sentences are usually long and complex
  • Use a rich and varied vocabulary
  • Receiver usually go to you
  • Use synonyms or pronouns to avoid redundancies
  • Correct pronunciation
  • Avoid expressions such as idioms, vulgarisms or muletillas
  • There are no omissions
  • The information is presented in a structured and coherent way
  • 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 consider my candidacy

Excuse me, could you tell me what time it is?

Due to the events that happened 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 …

Characteristics of informal language with examples

  • Does not always comply with grammar and spelling rules
  • The sentences are usually simple and short
  • Receptor target you
  • Use a rather poor, repetitive and repetitive vocabulary
  • Use of muletillas, idioms or vulgarisms
  • The pronunciation is not always correct
  • Sometimes words are omitted so that communication is faster
  • It is a record in which expressions of colloquial character and with expressive features such as puns or phrases made abound


Oh go! It costs an eye of the face

Uncle, in what a scrub ‘you got

How cool we don’t have homework today!

Well, it’s on plan that you have to get all the cards before the game is over

I’m freaking out! When they got caught, they got stoned without saying anything

You’ve totally lost your mind for that girl



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