Introduction No living language is simply one set of words which can be used the same way in all situations. The nature of language is such that there are in infinite variety of different ways to arrange its elements. What this means is that there are many ways to say the same thing, depending on where you are, who you are talking to, and how you feel. One of the main factors which determine which words and structures are appropriate is the degree of formality of the situation in which you are using the language.
Examples: Formal : Would you please pass me the chips? Informal : Gimme the potatoes .
The Definition: Formal Language , even when spoken, is often associated with the conventions expected of written standard English. At its most extreme, formal language is signaled by complex, complete sentences, impersonality, avoidance of colloquial or slang vocabulary, and a consistent preference for learned? words, often derived from Latin. . Informal Language is characterized by a simpler grammatical structure (i.e. loosely-connected sentences and phrases), personal evaluation, and a colloquial or slang vocabulary.
The differences between formal and informal 1: Formal and Informal Letters A formal letter is a letter written to a business, a college, or any professional that are not considered friends or family. Name Address Phone number Email Example of layout: Dear (Name), (Body of letter) Sincerely, (Name) (Sign in pen under typed name) An informal letter is a letter you would write to a friend of family member. It doesn't necessarily need a format, but there is a standard. Example of layout: Dear (Name), Body of letter Sincerely, (Name)
2: Formal and informal speech and writing Use of Contraction He has gone. (Formal) He's gone. (Informal) Use of prepositions Which nation does she belong to? (Informal) To which nation does she belong? (Formal) Use of relative pronouns The woman who you are talking about is my boss. (Formal) The woman you are talking about is my boss. (Informal) Use of determiners Neither of the answers is correct. (Formal) Neither of the answers are correct. (Informal)
The different changes that occur, as we move from a formal style to an informal one : 1: The inclement climatic conditions obliged the President to return earlier than scheduled. The president was obliged to return earlier than planned due to poor weather conditions. The president had to go back sooner than he'd planned because the weather was so bad. 2: Please await instructions before dispatching items. Please wait for instructions before sending items off. Don't send anything off until you're told to do so.
common informal / formal equivalents. Informal _ formal a bit _ a little about _ concerning ask for _ request but _ however buy _ purchase find _ locate get _ obtain help _ assist promise _ assure send back _ return
How to Avoid Colloquial Informal Words Avoid using common colloquial words and expressions 1: Colloquial words and phrases are called "colloquialisms." There are also solecisms, such as "ain’t," which are grammatical errors. Finally, there are nonwords, combinations of letters and characters that do not form real words, such as "alot." 2: Avoid contractions . Use fewer contractions in your writing than you would use in your speech. E.g. “cannot” is preferable to “can't” in formal contexts. 3: Try to avoid the first and second person . Formal writing often tries to be objective, and the pronouns "I" and "you" tend to imply subjectivity. In the most formal writing, "we" replaces "I," and "one" replaces "you."
4: Always include the relative pronoun. In speech and casual writing, you can say, "That was the boy I saw on the street" In formal writing, you should say, "He was the boy whom I saw on the street." In this style, you should be sure to always include "whom" even when it is not necessary to your meaning. 5: Do not start a sentence with a coordinating conjunction . In the written language, do not use coordinating conjunctions such as "and" or "but" to start a sentence. In formal English, try to start sentence with "additionally," (or "moreover" ) "nevertheless," and "alternatively." In casual writing, you can start sentences with "also," but avoid this in formal English.
6: Avoid clichés . Clichés are sayings or expressions. Clichés make your writing informal and sometimes humorous. E.g. Hercules was as strong as an ox. 7: Avoid stage directions . Do not begin a letter by telling the recipient what you plan to do in the letter or begin an essay by telling the reader what the paper will discuss. E.g. "I am writing to you to ask you to. . . ." ...” This paper is going to talk about how “ 8: Avoid vague words . Vague words can be described as words that are open to interpretation or that do not express your ideas as well as more precise words would. "A few" or "enough" can often be replaced by a word that is more precise.
The Differences in Common Colloquial Words and Expressions Anybody, anyone are more formal than “anybody“ and its variants. variants ” and its Anyone ” This is because the word "body" derives from German whereas the word "one" derives from Latin." I didn't see anybody. I saw no one. Cute The adjective "cute" is colloquial. In formal English, try to replace it with "adorable." Fellow Avoid using "fellow" when you mean, "A person." Calling somebody a fellow is more formal than calling him or her a dude, but "fellow" is still a colloquialism.
Get, obtain Sometimes, "get" is used for "obtain." In that case, you can use "find" or "grab" in formal writing and "obtain" or "procure" in extremely formal writing. How come Replace "how come" with "why" in formal writing. In formal speech, you may find "how so" useful. If you find that you are about to use "how come," just use "how so." E.g. How come you ordered steak? ? Why did you order steak Kinda, kind of, sorta, sort of “kinda” and “sorta” shouldn't appear in the writing language except dialogues and . unacceptable in formal writing “kind of” and “sort of” are perfectly acceptable in all kinds of writing when they are used in a sentence such as “The parakeet is a kind of bird”.
Slang Slang is a subset of a language used by one particular group. It consists of words and expressions which will not be found in the dictionary, and can be distortions of existing words or entirely invented terms. It is used in informal situations. It is not appropriate in formal situations. NOTE Slang and informal English are not the same. Some slang can be used in formal situations, and some of the words that can only be used in informal situations are not slang.
Conclusion Conclusion Formal and informal language affects your every day. To some people, the differences are very subtle, and the need to use a more formal style or vocabulary is non-existent. As a society, the type of language that is used, whether it is formal or informal, is directly dependant on the culture and customs that are the most prevalent. In the age of T.V. and the internet, the need to communicate to the audience at its level has degraded the level of formality needed in order to speak effectively.
Formal or Informal Exercise All of the following sentences are acceptable in standard English, but some of them would not be appropriate in more formal writing. See if you can identify which sentences would not be acceptable in a more formal context and tell why. 1. Who should I send this to? 2. We're going to have a big bash, and you're invited. 3. The Smiths request the pleasure of your company at a banquet to be held in the honor of their son Josiah, who will be graduating from Andover College. EXERCISE
ANSWERS The first sentence should use " whom" rather than " who" since it is the object of a preposition. To whom should I send this? We're going to have a big bash, and you're invited. Bash is too slangy for a formal context. The Smiths request the pleasure of your company at a banquet to be held in the honor of their son Josiah, who will be graduating from Andover College. This sentence would be acceptable in a formal situation, such as a formal invitation. 1 2 3