English - Formal or Informal?


English is a complicated language and strangely it is complicated by the lack of a very formalised grammar when it is being used on a day to day basis.  The rules of grammar are there, but they are so unspoken or unrecognised that to anyone learning the language it can all seem very illogical.

Added to this are different terms.  People use the terms ‘Formal English’ or ‘Informal English’ yet what do these terms mean?

In reality these terms mean more to people learning English than to native English speakers.  Native speakers use either formal or informal language without thinking about it.  So they never think about when it is appropriate to use either style.

Basically informal English is used when speaking the language, but more formal English is used when people are writing English within the context of business or when a formal letter is required.

Informal English is seen as a friendly means of communication between two people (or more) but it is not viewed as being appropriate within the formal business setting.  If you are not sure whether the type of English you are using is appropriate, then a quick grammar check can assist, since the grammar used in very informal English is more relaxed than used in the context of formal English.

Written English tends to be more formal and is less informal than conversational English, so whenever you are writing something, unless it is for your best friend or a family member, then it is always best to use formal structures and compositions to ensure that you are using the most suitable style.



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