Formal Vs Informal language in Public Speaking

Formal vs informal in Public Speaking

Clear communication and an ability to connect with your audience are essential for public speaking. One way to achieve this is to balance formal and informal language in your speech. The roles of formal and informal language are distinct. Between the two types, there are differences in tone, word choice, and word arrangement. Consider your primary objective and message before you begin to prepare your speech. Are you trying to inspire, convince, educate, or amuse your audience? The degree of formality or informality in your language may need to be changed depending on your goals.

Formal Language:

Formal language is less personal as compared to informal language. When writing for academic or professional goals, such as graduate school projects, it is utilized. When discussing serious matters or involving strangers, we employ formal language. This language is basically is used in official or serious settings, like government buildings, dinner parties, job interviews, and workplaces. It is focused on what has happened or is happening now in front of the person. You might also use formal language, if you wish to leave a favorable impression. It also makes sentences in your living room and classroom shorter and easier to understand. Asking your students to state they “apologize” instead of “sorry” will help you teach them to enter the realm of formal language.

 Colloquialisms, contractions, and first-person pronouns like “I” or “We” are not used in formal language.

A few fundamental components and tools of formal language are:

1. Politeness:

A formal language is always delivered in a courteous and respectful manner. Sentences in formal language should be appropriately structured because they are primarily intended for usage while speaking with strangers or those in positions of power. The decorum of a formal discourse is upheld by the use of refined language, proper syntax, full sentences, and expanded vocabulary.

2. Objectiveness:

Formal communication typically avoids taking sides. There is little to no usage of personal pronouns and the statement is spoken in the passive voice. When we refrain from utilizing pronouns like “I,” “We,” and “You,” the idea becomes more of a fact than an opinion. As a result, the speech’s content sounds more objective than subjective.

3. Effectiveness:

Formal language uses lengthier sentences and distinct, non-colloquial terms, it is more effective than informal speaking. The pronunciations are accurate and understandable, and the speech is clear. It is understandable to everyone in the audience, including non-native English speakers, because it adheres to Standard English grammar. As a result, it shows to be quite successful and appropriate for a commercial or professional setting.

4. Clarity:

Speech becomes much more clear when one uses a lot of long phrases, avoids contractions and abbreviations, uses appropriate grammar, has a complex sentence structure, pronounces words clearly, and keeps the information objective overall. Very rarely is there space for uncertainty or misinterpretation. Your material appears more genuine and displays professionalism when you utilize a lot of formal, impersonl language.

Importance of Formal Language in Public Speaking:

  • Formal Language is important in a professional atmosphere, it eliminates misunderstandings by making everyone sound respectful. Because of this, communication methods remain straightforward but effective even in contexts where official and informal language may fluctuate. Conversations can go on for longer even when it is straightforward and efficient since proper grammar and punctuation enable sentences to be longer in general.
  • The need of formal Language increases when you encounter people from diverse backgrounds. Formal Speech ends up being needed to grasp the little things in life since it gets much harder for people to understand each other in informal language.
  • The reason formal Language is so crucial is that, depending on the situation, the industry, and the audience, using formal language might make things happen more quickly. When beginning a new stage of life or simply teaching your children about the various methods to engage with people or presenting themselves to different people, formal language is one to always use, even when speaking at events or to a random person.

Informal Language:

Informal language is casual and easygoing, similar to chats with friends. It is utilized in some commercial interactions as well as when composing private emails and texts. Compared to formal language, informal language has a more intimate tone.

Colloquial expressions, slang, and contractions are examples of informal speech.

The traits that can assist you in recognizing informal speeches are:

1. Easygoing:

Casual presentations are typically laid back as, unlike formal speeches, they don’t require as much preparation. Informal speeches are typically given off the record and are given occasionally. Depending on the individual’s extroversion and comfort level with the audience, the degree of ease with which informal speeches are received can vary.

2. Colorful:

Informal language sounds colorful. In that way, the speaker is allowed to freely express who they really are. They are not monotonous in the way that formal speeches are. The presenter has the liberty to incorporate their unique slang, everyday expressions, individuality, regional accents, and overall amusement into the talk.

3. Humorous:

You can express your message in a creative and humorous way during informal presentations. Informal speeches are similar to enjoyable, carefree talks.

4. Simple:

You don’t typically use a lot of terminology or speak in complex sentences. Similarly, informal remarks are frequently uncomplicated and direct. They make use of simple phrases, everyday terminology, and references. Words and phrases like “that’s dope,” “don’t be salty,” “bruh,” “I’m shook,” “No cap,” and so on are acceptable.

5. Friendly:

Informal speech is used in day to day life. The majority of English speakers converse casually with strangers on the street, in contrast to speakers of other languages. Even though they are kind, they might not be courteous if they can’t understand the tone of your voice.

Importance of Informal language in Public Speaking:

  • Informal language is useful for many things, including exchanging information, building relationships, friendships, motivating and supporting people, settling conflicts, improving formal channels, unwinding, breaking away from the monotony of the office, etc.
  • Informal language establishes an unofficial trust base. This trust helps people accept judgments more readily. It makes the decision more likely to be implemented successfully.
  • Informal language spreads very fast. Because it is oral in nature, it may reach the most number of people in the quickest amount of time, regardless of their positions. Since there are no official procedures or requirements, it is flexible and impromptu rather than enforceable and coercive.

Examples of Formal and Informal Language:

Here are few examples of formal vs informal language in public speaking to make the difference clear.


        • Informal: The improvements can’t be made due to budget cuts.
        • Formal: Improvements cannot be made due to budget restrictions.

        Phrasal Verb:

        • Informal: The balloon was blown up for the experiment.
        • Formal: The balloon was inflated for the experiment


        • Informal: Professors still count on students to use correct grammar and punctuation in essays.
        • Formal: Professors expect students to use correct grammar and punctuation in essays.

        First Person Pronoun:

        • Informal: I considered various research methods for the study.
        • Formal: Various research methods were considered for the study.


        When to use formal or informal language in public speaking is crucial. This will based on the type of business you are in, the industry you operate in, the individuals you are communicating with, and the subject matter of your conversation. Another excellent method to grasp and learn the language is to become conversant in both formal and informal contexts. Never forget that your goal and the audience you are speaking to, that will determine the exact language you choose to employ, while you are speaking.

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