In the world of communication, letters are still considered as one of the most effective methods for conveying a message. Although emails and text messages have become more popular, formal or informal letters are still used in many different settings. The difference between formal and informal letters lies in the tone and language that is used. In this article, we will look at some of the key differences between formal and informal letters.
A formal letter is usually written for official or business purposes. Examples of formal letters include job application letters, complaint letters, letters of recommendation and academic letters. Formal letters must follow a certain structure and format and should be written in a formal tone.
Language and Tone: In formal letters, the tone should be polite and respectful. The language used should be professional and formal. Avoid using slang or colloquial language. The writer should address the recipient as ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ or ‘Dear [Name]’ if you know the name of the recipient. The closing should be formal, such as ‘Yours faithfully’ or ‘Sincerely’.
Structure: The structure of a formal letter follows a certain format. It usually starts with the sender’s address (top right-hand corner), followed by the date. The recipient’s address comes next, followed by a salutation or greeting (e.g. Dear Sir/Madam). The body of the letter should be divided into paragraphs and should be clear and concise. In the closing, the writer should thank the recipient for their time and consideration and end with a formal sign-off (e.g. Yours Faithfully). The writer’s signature should be placed below the closing.
Content: Formal letters should contain important information that is relevant to the purpose of the letter. The content should be well-organized and written in a clear and concise manner. The writer should avoid using emotional language and stick to the facts. It’s important to proofread the letter multiple times to ensure that the information is accurate and error-free.
An informal letter is usually written to a friend, family member or someone you know well. The main purpose of an informal letter is to share news or events in an informal way. Examples of informal letters include friendly letters, letters of congratulations, and invitations to social events.
Language and Tone: In informal letters, the language used is more casual and conversational. The tone should be friendly and chatty, with the writer addressing the recipient as ‘Dear [Name]’. Slang and colloquial language are acceptable in informal letters. The closing should be informal, such as ‘Best wishes’ or ‘Love’.
Structure: The structure of an informal letter is less formal than a formal letter. There are no strict rules, but the letter should be clear and easy to read. It usually starts with a greeting, followed by a friendly opening sentence. The body of the letter should be divided into paragraphs and should be written in a conversational tone. The writer can share relevant details about their life or ask about the recipient’s life. The closing should be warm and informal, such as ‘Take care’ or ‘Stay in touch’.
Content: Informal letters can contain any information that the writer wants to share with the recipient. The writer can share news, events or ask about the recipient’s life. The tone should be more personal and less formal than in a formal letter. It’s not necessary to include a lot of details, but the letter should be informative enough to keep the recipient interested.
To sum up, the difference between a formal and informal letter lies in the language, tone, structure, and content. Formal letters are more structured and are used in professional or official settings, while informal letters are less structured and are used to communicate with friends or family members. When writing a letter, it’s important to consider the purpose of the letter and the recipient. By following the appropriate tone and language, you can convey your message effectively and efficiently.