Difference between Formal Essay and Informal Essay

Formal Essay and Informal Essay
Formal essays are argumentative or persuasive. Formal essay writing encompasses articles, dissertations or thesis. Francis Bacon defined formal essays as impersonal, objective, compressed and wholly serious Essay writing starts from high school, and essays are mandatory for some courses at the university level. The formal essay has become more varied in subject matter and style in the present times.

Informal essay writing is more personal with a bit of humour as well. Informal essays are also called familiar or personal essays. Informal essays can be about anything for reflection and opinions for pleasure and enjoyment. It does not entail that they are not informative or persuasive at all. But the structure and tone of an informal essay are less rigid than a formal essay.

Many people do not distinguish between a formal essay and an informal essay and hire affordable essay writing services to get help from them. This article aims to differentiate between formal and informal essays. This article will inform its readers of the basic definition of formal and informal essays. At the end of this article, you will know the structure of formal and informal essays.

What is a Formal Essay?

The word “essay” derives its meaning from the Latin word “exagium”, which means presenting one’s case. Formal essays are about representing facts and arguments with appropriate language and style. Formal essays are academic in nature and tackle serious topics. A formal essay has a proper structure with citations of relevant research. It has a formal tone and a rigid structure. You must write a formal essay in the third person to keep it impersonal. A formal essay has to follow the rules of grammar and punctuation strictly. They are persuasive. Formal essays are specific and focused. Let’s highlight the various characteristics of a formal essay.

Uses Third Person Pronouns

In formal essays, the authors do not express their viewpoints in first-person since it is not a personal story. So, you should avoid using first-person pronouns such as “I” in formal essay writing.

Subject Content

The subject content of a formal essay comprises facts, data and knowledge drawn from historical events. It also includes references to the available literature on the selected topic. It does not include subjective experiences and events.

Objective and Impartial

Formal essays are objective and impartial. The writer persuades the audience by presenting facts and figures logically. A formal essay is not a rhetorical exercise, but it is an argumentative piece of writing. The tone of a formal essay keeps a vital check on emotional expression and frivolous explanations.


A formal essay has a strong thesis statement. A thesis statement is the central idea of a formal essay, and the entire essay revolves around it. The formal essay follows a structure that develops clear arguments to support the statement of the problem.

Research Purpose and Question

A formal essay states the research purpose or research question in the essay’s introduction section.


Formal essay writing should not have slang or contractions. The vocabulary of a formal essay is technical, which is specific to the chosen subject.

Critical Analysis

A formal essay critically analyses the subject under discussion and logically presents the facts and arguments.

Structure of Formal Essay
A formal essay comprises the following structure. A standard formal essay is five paragraphs long.


  • An introduction is the first paragraph of a formal essay
  • Includes thesis statement
  • Background knowledge of the topic
  • Facts and statistics to support the thesis statement

Body Paragraphs

  • Body paragraphs contain arguments and facts in detail to support the thesis statement
  • Each body paragraph starts with a topic sentence which introduces the main idea of the paragraph linked to the central theme
  • Uses PEEL method (Point, Evidence, Explain, Link)


Conclusion is the last paragraph of a formal essay which summarizes the entire essay and restates the thesis statement. It emphasizes the central idea of the essay and contains concluding remarks.

What is an Informal Essay?

Informal essays have a casual tone and utilize vivid expressions to persuade readers. Informal essays do not follow a rigid structure, and writers can use first-person and second-person pronouns. Informal essays do not have to provide proper references and citations. Informal essays are informational. A writer can include brief facts relevant to the topic, but the in-depth analysis is not necessary. Informal essays are personal or familiar essays since they reflect subjective opinions and experiences. Let’s highlight the characteristics of an informal essay.

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Directly address the reader

Informal essays are reflective and casual; therefore, a writer can use first-person pronouns such as “I”. Writers use second-person pronouns to address the reader directly.

Personal experiences and narration of events

In an informal essay writer can include personal experiences and daily life events to build an exciting story. The subject content does not have to be well-researched or based on a literature review.


The tone of an informal essay is personal as compared to a formal essay. An informal essay is subjective, and the writer can use ironic and humorous expressions. The style of writing can be casual, amusing, and conversational.


Unlike the formal essay, an informal essay does not follow a rigid writing structure. It has little or no structure. But it does not mean that one should write it randomly. Some structure is necessary to keep the readers interested.

Research Problem

Informal essays could be about o a social or political problem. It can also have a central idea, but it is not necessary to explicitly state it. Compared to a formal essay, the central idea can be anywhere in the essay.


The vocabulary does not have to be technical or jargon-ridden. A writer can use slang, contractions and colloquial language.


The purpose of an informal essay is entertainment and reflection. Informal essays are suitable for personal statements, personal letters, blog posts and magazine or newspaper editorials.


Knowing the difference between formal and informal essay writing is necessary to structure your writing. As discussed earlier, both essays are entirely different and follow different styles and structures. After reading this article, we hope that you will differentiate between formal and informal essays.

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