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Difference between formal and informal letter

Formal letters vary from informal letters in various aspects. Students often cannot differentiate between these and hence end up writing the letter in writing format. They must know the significant differences between both letter types to come up with the proper write-up. Difference between formal and informal letter Let us rush towards the main difference between formal and informal letters.

Formal VS Informal


In the case of formal writing, the sentences used in the letter are complete. It does not consist of short sentences but reflects professionalism through using complete sentences. However, in the case of informal letters, the sentences are often short.

Grammar and Vocabulary

Both vocabulary and grammar are the main elements of the formal letter. When you have to write a formal letter, then ensure to select the most advanced and professional vocabulary for it. It is necessary to consider the grammar of the letter. It must be accurate and does not comprise any mistake or error. However, in the case of informal letters, the students get relaxation, and hence they can lack advanced vocabulary and formal grammar in it. 


The use of contractions is prohibited for the formal letter. One cannot use any contractions in the formal letter. However, for the formal letter, contractions are allowed, and hence one can quickly write I’d rather than I would. But, students cannot write I’d in the formal letter, and they have to write it in a complete form such as I would.


There is no room for the idioms in the formal letter. In contrast, the informal letter can consist of idioms and phrases. It is an excellent approach to use idioms and phrases in informal letters. Keenly go through the formal letter and if you find any idiom in it, then rectify it at your earliest. Likewise, look for the other aspects too in your letter and ensure to rectify these as required.

Passive Voice and Active Voice

Active voice is easily observed in the informal letters, while the formal letter is written using passive voice. For instance, if the letter has a sentence such as I have gone through and completed the admission form, it is an informal letter. 

Abbreviations: Difference between formal and informal letter

Students should avoid using abbreviations for formal letters. There is a massive no to the abbreviations in the formal letter. You cannot use ASAP in the formal letter. One has to write the complete form of it as soon as possible. While in the informal letter, the abbreviations are welcomed wholeheartedly, and one can use them ASAP without hassles.

Also read: Difference between rural and urban

In a Nutshell

If you have to write a letter or identify a letter, then you can easily do so. Take the assistance of these comparative aspects and do the needful. One cannot use the imperatives and exclamation marks in the formal letter. While for the informal letter, it allows using the imperatives and exclamation mark. The informal letter can use phrasal verbs.



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