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Formal Letter vs. Informal Letter: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Published on January 19, 2024
A formal letter follows a strict structure and formal language for professional or official communication, while an informal letter is casual, using a personal tone and flexible structure, typically for personal communication.
Formal Letter vs. Informal Letter

Key Differences

A formal letter adheres to a specific format, including sender and recipient's addresses, date, salutation, body, closing, and signature. An informal letter lacks a strict format, often starting directly with a salutation and closing casually.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 19, 2024
Formal letters use professional language, avoid slang, and maintain a respectful and distant tone. Informal letters, conversely, use casual language, idiomatic expressions, and a friendly, personal tone.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 19, 2024
Formal letters are used for official, business, or academic purposes, such as job applications, complaints, or official requests. Informal letters are used for personal communication, like writing to friends or family.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 19, 2024
In formal letters, precision and clarity are paramount, and the content is focused and objective. Informal letters can be more expressive, subjective, and conversational, often meandering off-topic.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 19, 2024
Formal letters often require addressing the recipient by titles and last names, while informal letters use first names or nicknames, reflecting a personal relationship.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 19, 2024
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Comparison Chart

Structure

Strict format with clear sections
Flexible, no specific format
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 19, 2024

Language

Professional, formal
Casual, colloquial
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 19, 2024

Purpose

Professional, official communication
Personal communication
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 19, 2024

Tone

Respectful, distant
Friendly, personal
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 19, 2024

Salutations/Closings

Formal titles, professional closings
First names, casual closings
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 19, 2024
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Formal Letter and Informal Letter Definitions

Formal Letter

Maintains a respectful and distant tone.
The formal letter to the embassy was carefully worded.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 09, 2024

Informal Letter

Often written for personal communication with friends or family.
The informal letter shared news about family events.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 09, 2024

Formal Letter

Follows conventions like formal salutations and closings.
The formal letter ended with Yours sincerely.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 09, 2024

Informal Letter

A personal letter without a strict structure.
She sent an informal letter to her cousin abroad.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 09, 2024

Formal Letter

Uses official language for business or academic purposes.
She wrote a formal letter of complaint to the municipality.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 09, 2024
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Informal Letter

Uses first names and casual closings.
The informal letter began with Hey John and ended with Take care.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 09, 2024

Formal Letter

Includes sender and recipient's formal addresses.
His formal letter began with the company's full address.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 09, 2024

Informal Letter

Uses casual, everyday language and expressions.
His informal letter was filled with slang and jokes.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 09, 2024

Formal Letter

A letter with a specific format for professional communication.
The formal letter to the CEO included a detailed proposal.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 09, 2024

Informal Letter

Expresses personal thoughts in a friendly tone.
Her informal letter conveyed heartfelt congratulations.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 09, 2024

Repeatedly Asked Queries

What is an informal letter?

A casual letter typically used for personal messages.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 19, 2024

Is a formal letter always typed?

Typically, yes, for professionalism.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 19, 2024

Should I address a formal letter to a specific person?

Yes, if possible, with their title and last name.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 19, 2024

Are email signatures important in formal letters?

Yes, they add to the letter's professionalism.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 19, 2024

What is a formal letter?

A structured letter used for professional communication.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 19, 2024

When should I use a formal letter?

For official, business, or academic purposes.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 19, 2024

Can I use slang in an informal letter?

Yes, it's common in casual personal communication.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 19, 2024

Can informal letters be creative in layout?

Yes, they're flexible in format and design.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 19, 2024

Do formal letters require a return address?

Yes, it's part of the standard format.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 19, 2024

Can an informal letter be handwritten?

Yes, it often adds a personal touch.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 19, 2024

Do formal letters require a specific closing?

Yes, like "Yours sincerely" or "Respectfully".
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 19, 2024

How do I start an informal letter?

Usually with a casual greeting like "Hi" or "Hello".
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 19, 2024

Can I use emojis in informal letters?

Yes, they can convey emotions effectively.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 19, 2024

Should formal letters be concise?

Yes, clarity and brevity are important.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 19, 2024

Is it okay to use contractions in informal letters?

Yes, they're common in casual writing.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 19, 2024

Is proofreading important for formal letters?

Very, to maintain professionalism and clarity.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 19, 2024

How do I close an informal letter?

With a personal touch like "Best wishes" or "Cheers".
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 19, 2024

Can I share personal stories in an informal letter?

Absolutely, it's meant for personal exchanges.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 19, 2024

Can I discuss multiple topics in an informal letter?

Yes, it can be as varied as a conversation.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 19, 2024

Is a subject line necessary in a formal letter?

Often, yes, to clarify the letter's purpose.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 19, 2024

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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