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Where to use formal or informal English

Do you know how you communicate with different types of people? Do you use the same tone, words, or phrases when you communicate with your friends as you do when communicating with your colleagues?

Of course not, right?

Every situation or person you meet will have a specific way of speaking. Paying sufficient attention will deepen your knowledge of the same. In a casual meeting will have you speak in a rather relaxed and familiar tone and set of words, and in a formal meeting will have you talk in a serious and work-oriented tone.

In both of the situations, you’re bound to make use of different words and phrases while speaking. When you’re around family, friends, and other relatives, you tend to use casual or informal words. However, when you’re around a set of people that you don’t share a casual relationship, you have to speak in fluent English with a formal undertone.

Formal English we use when covering letters to apply for a job, with your colleagues or emails, basically in your working environment. 

On the other hand informal English, we use with our friends or family members or relatives. 

Informal English is used between people who know each other in a well manner. 

There are some examples of informal and formal words that you can easily understand and differentiate in our informal and formal English speaking routines.

Informal to Formal words

Empty – Vacant

Worse – Inferior

Want – Desire

Build – Construct 

Seem – Appear 

Point out – Indicate

Childish – Immature 

Have – Must 

Chance – Opportunity 

Buy – Purchase 

Get – Require 

Whole – Entire 

Enough – Sufficient 

How to differentiate formal and informal English?

Formal English is used in serious contexts like, in official documents, news, articles, business letters or speeches. While Informal English is used in everyday conversation. 

The most important advice for English learners is to get a clear understanding of two Basic inputs of English conversation: informal and formal. 

Following are some examples of formal and informal English:

  • Formal- She has decided to accept the job.

         Informal- She’s decided to accept the job.
         How we differentiate between these sentences (we don’t use contraction in a formal English
         The informal language uses common colloquial expressions and is often slang.

  • Formal- It is extremely hot today.

           Informal- Hot as hell! You could fry an egg on the sidewalk.
           In “Formal English” we avoid phrasal verbs, slang words, construction, idioms. On the other hand we use longer and more complex sentence structures, larger and less common words in informal English.  

  • Formal- The problems have to come back.

           Informal- The problems have returned.

  •  Formal- The software is quite user-friendly.

           Informal- The software is extremely easy to use.

  • Informal- The project won’t continue next year.
    Formal-  The project will not continue next year.

           In “Informal English” we use shorter and simple sentences, Exclamation, and expression, perfect grammar is not required. Phrasal verbs and slang words are used frequently.

  • Formal- We have to leave now.
    Informal- We hafta leave now.

          (hafta = have to)

  • Formal: I will apologize for any inconvenience caused.
    Informal: Sorry!
  • Formal- I’m of a different opinion
    Informal- I disagree. 

Using formal language or informal language is a big part of mastering a language.

If you are in doubt whether you should use formal or informal language in conversations, especially when you are speaking to someone more experienced than you or in a work situation pay attention to the way they interact with you, and try to do the same. If you are not sure about the language to use with someone, it is a good idea to use formal language. This ensures that you always look polite and professional.

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