formal vs informal tones

When writing a paper the tone of the paper is extremely important. This article is going to focus on the difference between the formal and the informal tone. As well as discussing when to use these tones in your writing. Knowing when to use a formal tone for a paper and knowing when to use the informal is critical to college writing.

When writing using a formal think of it as if you were writing a letter to your boss at work. The paper will need to be respectful and written in a manner that has been written with a certain decorum that is expected in the professional world. Meaning that the formal paper will require careful revision before being submitted. Additionally formal papers will typically use verbs or phrases that would not be used in an informal paper. These are verbs such as “nevertheless”, “consequentially”, “In addition to”, and “in conclusion”   A formal paper will need to be written in third person, so it should not contain the words “I” “my” or “you” in it. The paper will also have to be concise and factual without any personal opinions or biases. A formal paper does not use slang either. Formal papers will often require the writer to put more thought into them as it important that the work appears polished and well thought, as opposed to an informal paper.

An informal paper is similar to talking to a friend or someone who you know personally. Writing an informal paper will not typically take as long as writing a formal one. In an informal paper it is appropriate to you the first, second, or the third person perspective. An informal paper may also use slang terms as well as, containing personal opinions and anecdotes. An informal paper may also include observations about the topic that are not strictly professional such as a statement about a person’s attitude or a comment about weather. An informal paper may also contain certain expressions and ever day phrases. Like saying “a ton”, “see you later” or “all the time”. In the college setting it will not typically be appropriate to write an informal paper.

Additionally it is important to note when it is appropriate to use the formal tone, and when it is appropriate to use the informal  tone. The informal tone is for when you are discussing things with people you know on a personal level, such as fellow students when working together on a group project, or when submitting a discussion blog post. The formal tone is used when you are writing a paper for a class or an email to a professor. It is important to note that many professors will not respond to an email of they feel it is not written formally, or respectfully. The difference between the formal and informal tones is similar to knowing the difference between formal and informal dress.