What’s Informal Tone and Should You Use It?

Tone plays a significant role in writing. The tone of your voice is how you express your ideas. Included are the words you use, how you organize them, and how you formalize them. This article will focus on the informal tone and how it differs from a formal tone.

Tone in Writing

a black Corona typewriter with qwerty keyboard on brown wood planks
Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

The tone is the writer’s attitude toward the reader and the topic of the message. According to the author, the tone of a written message affects the reader just as an expression does when it occurs. 

An author can use tone for many reasons. These include:

  • Influence the readers’ perception
  • Relate to audiences’ emotions
  • Communicate attitidue to readers

The range of tones available in your writing will make your writing more appealing. In certain words, sentence structures, and punctuation choices, different types of tones are generated.

What is Informal Tone?

Informal language, or informal tone, is a style of speech that is less formal than that seen in a traditional office or academic setting

In informal language, we give less attention to the rules of grammar and spelling and give more attention to the message conveyed. An informal style is heard in informal speech or when speaking to a friend or family member.

The informal style is more casual and spontaneous. This tone of informal language is more personal than that of formal language.

Differences Between Informal & Formal Tones

Informal and formal tones serve different purposes. There is variation in tone, choice of words, and arrangement of words between styles. 

For academic or professional purposes, such as university assignments, the formal tone is used. 

Formal language does not use first-person pronouns such as ‘I’ or ‘We.’ Instead, formal tone uses the third person.

The formal tone uses full words rather than contractions. Grammatical mistakes are tolerable in informal writing; however, they are not acceptable in formal writing. 

Additionally, formal/informal distinction has to do more with the implied audience. The formal tone is used to refer to your superiors or people you don’t know yet. As mentioned, the informal style is for people you already know – friends and families.

Why Use the Informal Tone?

Informal tone is one of the easiest ways to write in any language. Amateur writers can utilize informal writing to communicate in a clear and concise way. Even professional writers can use informal writing in talking about things that are personal and unique.

When you use informal language, you are sharing a relaxed and understanding tone of voice. The informal language indicates a simple mindset. 

This free approach to writing is perfect for casual writing, such as meeting notes, discussions with your friends, and personal writings (like journal entries). It’s also helpful in writing more sincerely and being franker with your audience.

To Wrap Up

Both informal and formal tones have a time and a place to use. They serve very different purposes. Therefore, it is crucial that you choose the most appropriate style.

And remember, if you are in doubt, use a formal tone to be on the safer side. No one is going to be offended by formality. But your boss might get a little bit angry if you refer to him as “bro”!

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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