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What is the Difference between Formal Letter and Informal Letter

Letters were the main source of communication between 2 parties back in time. We all grew up writing letters, and they are relevant in certain places even today. This article will be focusing primarily on the difference between Formal and Informal letters. Before jumping on to what makes them different, let’s understand what they are individually!

Formal Letter vs Informal Letter - The formal letters are also known as the official letters are written for business or professional purposes to meet up the selected objectives.  It uses simple but official language, which is simple to read and interpret business requirement and its objectives.  Informal letters are quite the opposite are generally written to our relatives, friends for personal communication and the language used is common or casual.

The formal letters are precise and to the point that does not include irrelevant issues. On the contrary, the informal letters are long and unofficial. This way of letter writing used to communicate within business contacts, Client Customer, Channel Partners, Vendors, Employer, Professionals Collage and Institution or any other official communication is known as Formal Letter Writing. Whereas, letter writing used to communicate with friends, colleagues and relatives etc; is known as Informal Letter writing.

Difference between Informal and Formal Letter

Let us learn from below about each one separately i.e. what Formal and Informal letter and understand its uses as per the requirement

What is a Formal Letter?

Its a letter written for formal or official purposes, in a   professional language with a set format. They serve the   purpose of communication to a teacher or the principal at a   school or a college, and to managers and higher   authorities at a workplace.

Important things to remember while writing a formal letter:

  • Format of the letter.
  • Subject has to be specific.
  • Use of professional language.
  • Use of proper Greetings and Salutations.
  • Purpose of the letter.
  • Small and precise body of the letter.



What is an Informal Letter?

These letters are very opposite to formal letters, the main purpose of an informal letter is to be a mode of conversation between friends and family. They are very lenient with their format and focus more on the body of the letter.

There is not much of dos and don’ts in an Informal letter. But this doesn’t mean we can use foul language, use proper language while addressing anybody.

The format of an informal letter should comprise of the following things:

  • Sender's Address
  • Address of receiver
  • Date of writing a letter
  • Salutation/Greeting
  • Body of the letter
  • Closing / Conclusion
  • Signature of the sender
  • Signature


Key Difference between formal V/s informal letters

There are few very important key points to differentiate between formal and informal letter such as:

  1. Formal letters are written with lots of attention, it requires correct formatting, before sending it to the receiver. All spellings and grammar should be checked properly. As these letters are addressed to the relevant officials or authorities within or outside of an Institution, the probabilities of errors in such kind of formal letters are rare. The matter of the letter is kept precise, to-the-point and divided into distinct paragraphs to form it more literate.
  2. Informal letters are generally written for personal reasons or purposes. They mostly use an off-the-cuff language and don’t have a selected format. Informal letters can adopt any writing pattern as per the requirements of the author.
  3. The style and layout of formal letters deal a particular cause or situation and is usually precise and to the point.
  4. The style and layout of informal letter can be fairly unofficial and is usually up to the sender and the topic of the letter
  5. Main elements of format are supported things, a formal letter can have many elements but mostly such letters contain the subsequent important parts:
  6. Proper address of both sender and recipient,
  7. Date and day,
  8. Proper salutation with name and grade or designation of the recipient,
  9. Subject or topic,
  10. Body (preferably with distinct and organized paragraphs),
  11. Complementary closing words,
  12. Proper signatures of the writer,
  13. An Informal or unofficial  letter is quite a simple and should comprise of the subsequent elements:
  14. Date and day,
  15. Salutation,
  16. Body,
  17. An intimate or complimentary closing.
  18. Being official in nature, the written expression of formal letters is usually more straight forward than informal letters. Good vocabulary and grammar is to be used and therefore the abbreviations are normally avoided while drafting such letters.
  19. The written expression of an informal letter is very casual and can be of any guise.
  20. The aim and objective of writing a Formal letter is usually official and needs to communicate and address business matters inside and out of doors of the business entity, a private or government institution. This letter is additionally referred to as a official letter and must be written in a formal tone prevailing within the recipient’s environment.
  21. An Informal letter is written in an off-the-cuff , friendly and loose tone. These letters are often written to deal with close family, friends and relatives.
  22. The recipient of formal letters are often required to store the letters in some safe location as record in order that they will be presented or used as references, if needed in future.
  23. Infact, the informal letters are personal in nature, it's up to recipient’s personal wish whether he/she wants to save lots of them or not for future needs.
  24. In some cases, a proper written response or reply to each formal letter is mandatory within a selected period of your time in accordance with the policies of organization, establishment or entity receiving the letter.
  25. In case of an informal letter, the response or reply depends on the receiver. He decides whether a reply is required or not.

A formal letter is different from an informal letter on a lot of factors, and that’s what we are going to find out here.  The main factors are stated below in a tabular form:

Format of formal & Informal letter

The next section will be covering the format of formal & informal letter.Which will eventually help you in understanding difference between informal and formal letter.

Format of Formal Letter

Address of the sender


Name of the Recipient
Organization’s Name

Salutation (Dear Sir/Madam)

Subject: Brief outline of the purpose of writing the letter

Body of the letter

Paragraph 1 (Introduction about the topic on why the letter is being written)

Paragraph 2 (Crucial points that needs to be addressed in the letter in concise and formal language without dragging on unnecessary things)

Paragraph 3 (End the letter with gratitude and the needed call of action required for the purpose of writing this letter. For ex: Thank you for your consideration. Waiting for your positive response)

Yours Sincerely/Faithfully

Name of the Sender



Format of an Informal Letter

Similar to the formal letter, there a basic format for an Informal letter as well which is in the next section of the article. Keep reading to find it out.

Sender’s Address

Date: ___________

Dear [Person Name_]

Introduction: Add pleasantries and mention the topic of the letter.

Body of the letter: Add details about the purpose you are writing to them, express feeling, situations, event etc.
Perfect length is 2-3 paragraphs.

Conclusion: Conclude your letter and say your goodbyes.

Yours lovingly

Signature & Name


Conclusion – Difference between Formal and Informal Letter

Letter writing is still the most valuable way of communication, even though there are so many modern ways that are available such as email, mobile text messages and also many apps where people can communicate with each other.  But, a hard form of Letter document still maintains the highest level of trust and commitment.

So, before you start writing a letter, first of all, you should identify, who is your recipient? If you have a professional relationship with the recipient, then you should go for a formal letter, whereas, if the recipient is someone very close to you or you have a good relationship with the recipient, then informal letter is the right choice for you. Secondly, you should follow the proper format of letter writing for both formal and informal letters. Finally, you should write the letter in the devised style of the letter writing and keep your grammar and spellings in check.