What is the difference between formal language and informal language?

The difference between formal and informal language is in the context in which they are used and in the choice of words and expressions used to communicate.

Formal language is linked to the use of grammatical norms, while informal language is more free, being used more in everyday situations.

Formal language Informal language
What is Formal language is the one we use in more formal situations, being marked by the use of the cultured norm.

It is used in professional, academic situations or when there is no familiarity between the interlocutors, that is, in situations that require more seriousness.

Informal language is used in more relaxed situations, when there is a familiarity between the interlocutors.

In it, the use of the cultured norm is not necessary, and the use of slang and colloquialisms is common.

Features ·         Use of the educated norm, strictly respecting the grammatical norms;

·         Use of an extensive vocabulary;

·         Correct and clear pronunciation of words.

·         Carelessness with the use of grammatical norms;

·         Use of colloquialisms, popular expressions, slang, invented words (neologisms);

·         Use of abbreviated words as u , ce and ‘m ;

·         Subject to cultural and regional variations.

Language Cult. Colloquial.
Grammatical norm Correct use of standards. You don’t have to follow the rules.
Where it is used More formal situations, such as; political speeches, job interviews, lectures, public tenders and official documents.

It is usually used when talking to superiors, authorities or public.

Used in everyday conversations, cell phone messages, chats. It is generally used in conversations between friends and family.
Most common use When we write. When we talk.
Example Did you see what’s going on? Wow, did you see what’s going on?

What is it and when do we use formal language?

Formal language is less personal than informal language. It is used when writing for professional or academic purposes, such as university assignments. Formal language does not use colloquialisms, abbreviations or slang.

We mainly use formal language when writing, as in academic articles, business emails or reports. However, formal language is also used in cases of lectures or presentations.

What is it and how do we use informal language?

Informal language is more casual and spontaneous, running away from grammatical norms.

It is used mainly when we speak in a more impulsive and casual way, as in conversations with family and friends. The tone of informal language is more personal than formal language.

However, informal language is not used only when we speak. We can also use informal language when we write, for example, on a postcard for a family member or a text message for a friend. Some advertisements also use this type of language to have an effect and reach the target audience.

Examples of use of formal and informal language

Using abbreviations

Formal language: How are you?

Informal language: How are you?

In this example, “you” and “ok” replace “you” and “are”, characterized by informal language.

Using slang and expressions

Formal language: I am very late.

Informal language: Damn it! I’m too late.

In the example above, informal language is characterized by the use of the slang “caramba”, and is also an example of the use of expressions used orally, such as “tô”.


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