What Are Examples of Formal and Informal Diction?


Quick Answer

According to Brigham Young University's Writing Center, formal diction is language that is only used when addressing a highly educated audience, such as the readers of an academic journal. Informal diction is used when addressing a familiar audience, such as in personal emails or other documents with a conversational or entertaining tone. Informal diction often includes slang, while formal diction almost never does.

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What Are Examples of Formal and Informal Diction?
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Full Answer

According to BYU, one example of the difference between formal and informal diction is the different synonyms for the word "learn;" while a formal equivalent to the word would be "edify," an informal equivalent would be the slang phrase "wise up." Choosing a style of diction is highly dependent on audience. Writing or speech intended for a highly specialized, highly literate audience – a medical lecture, for example – benefits from using more specialized language to explain more complex ideas. More personal communication – an email to a friend or family member, for instance – often uses informal language to show intimacy and friendliness. Diction is also informed by the purpose of the speech or writing. A financial grant request attempting to earn funding for a scientific project makes use of specialized language in order to show the seriousness of the researchers and their project. Conversely, writing or speech intended to reach a wide audience benefits from using simpler language (though it may not benefit from using extremely informal slang).

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