Formal Diction:What,How,Where & Examples (Complete Guide !)


Formal diction concept and uses in this article will make your understanding easy and concrete.

Formal diction is all about use of formal language in both professional and personal life. Formal diction follows strict grammatical rules and complex grammatical structure.

What is formal diction?

Formal diction can be referred as word group, sentences, languages or clauses which are grammatically correct and sophisticated.

Important features of formal diction –

  1. Correct grammatical structure
  2. Complex grammatical structure
  3. Elevated language
  4. No slang
  5. No colloquial words
  6. Follow formal language

Example 01 –I am going to purchase a lovely toy for my daughter.

Example 02 –I am going to buy a lovely toy for my daughter.

Explanation –

Here, the first example followed the formal diction with the word ‘purchase’, while the second example followed the informal diction ‘buy’.

How to use formal diction?

To use ‘formal diction’ in our verbal or written language, we need to keep some points in our mind.

  1. Instead of choosing a descriptive word, we must try to use precise words.
  2. Formal words are must be polite.
  3. Formal dictions must be grammatically correct.
  4. Formal dictions must follow the decorum set by superior people of any professional or academic place.
  5. Punctuations must be correct in formal diction formation.
  6. We can not mix both formal and informal diction in same writing portion.
  7. There must be concise words in formal diction
  8. We must use direct words in formal diction to make the concept easy.
  9. Phrasal  Verbs must be neglected in formal diction.
formal diction
Five Examples of Formal Diction

Example 01 –We can not go to the temple because of my mother.

Example 02 –We can’t go to the temple because of my mother.

Explanation –

Here, both the sentences have been formed with same words but the difference lies in use of punctuation.

In the first example, two words ‘can not’ have been transformed to ‘can’t’ in the second example. That is the basic difference between formal and informal diction.

In the first example, the use of punctuation is grammatically correct while in second example ‘can not’ has been shortened to ‘can’t’ and became informal diction. The first example is correct example of formal diction because it has followed proper grammatical rules and structure.

Where to use formal diction?

Formal diction has a close relation with formal language. Thus, use of formal diction is limited to formal places, formal situations or formal conversations. Formal dictions can be used in below listed situations.

  1. Written Academic Documents,
  2. Written Professional Documents,
  3. Written Business Documents,
  4. Written Legal Documents,
  5. Conversation in the office,
  6. At meeting / seminars/ conference
  7. Conversation with person with superior position
  8. To Show Respect
  9. Professional Work Places
  10. Academic Work Places etc.

Example 01–Good morning, Sir. I will submit the papers by tomorrow.

Examples 02-Hey, buddy. I will give you the papers by tomorrow.

Explanation –

Here, the first example of formal diction is an interaction between an employer and a boss. The second example is an example of informal diction which has been conversed between two friends or two colleagues. Thus, we can see that formal diction creates a good image of the speaker in professional work areas.

When to use formal diction?

We must use formal diction when we need to create positive impression with our grammatical knowledge. Formal dictions are not to be used in daily conversations with our family members, friends or sometime with juniors of our professional work place. Formal dictions are all about proper academic learning or proper professional presentation.

Let’s look at examples of some formal diction –

Serial NumberFormal DictionInformal Diction
1HoweverBut
2AppearSeem
3MoreoverAlso
4ResideLive
5InsertPut in
6AssistHelp
7UtilizeUse
8FutileHopeless
9OccupationJob
10DemiseDeath
11ToleratePut up
12InvestigateLook into
13InsaneMad
14RepairMend
15RequireNeed

Example of formal diction –

Your notion about your future life is quiet impossible to believe.

Explanation –

Here, the informal version of the same formal diction is ‘Your idea about your future life is not possible to believe.

Formal diction use –

Use of formal diction is all about choice of speaker or the writer. Same speaker can speak both formal and informal diction but on the basis of situational demand or according to the listener. Same situation applies to a writer also. A writer can write in both formal diction or in informal diction but on the basis of target readers.

  1. Important points to use formal diction-
  2. Phrases must be grammatically proper.
  3. Structure must follow grammatical syntax.
  4. Dignified diction must use to maintain formal diction.
  5. Formal diction or formal language must be impersonal.
  6. Language of formal diction must be elevated.
  7. Use of formal diction is not about semantics but totally on syntax.
  8. Formal dictions don’t use contractions of words.
  9. The tone of formal diction must be lofty.

Example 01 – 

Informal diction – I am not going to believe that the accounts which you have shown me are accurate.

Same sentence with formal diction – The accounts which you have shown me are not believed to be accurate.

Explanation – The difference between these formal and informal diction lies on the structure of sentence or we can say that on the syntax of the sentence.

Example 02 –

Informal diction – You have lack of knowledge in your presentation of research papers.

Same sentence with formal diction – There is deficiency of knowledge in your presentation of research paper.

Explanation – The difference between these formal and informal diction lies on the use of formal words.

Formal diction examples –

Example 01 – Nevertheless I have to reach the railway station before Rita.

Explanation – The informal diction of the above mentioned formal diction is ‘Anyhow I need to reach the station before Rita’. Here, the difference between informal and formal diction is on ‘use of proper words’.

Example 02 – My dream is to construct a library of my own.

Explanation – The informal diction of the above mentioned formal diction is ‘I have a dream to build my own library’. Here, the difference between informal and formal diction is not only on use of words but also on syntax.

Example 03 – Sandip has decided to undermine his phone number.

Explanation – The informal diction of the above mentioned formal diction is ‘Sandip decided to block his phone number’. Here, the difference between informal and formal diction is completely on use of words.

Example 04 – Rita was not there to give her attendance to the teacher.

Explanation – The informal diction of the above mentioned formal diction is ‘Rita wasn’t there to give her attendance to the teacher.’ Here, the difference between informal and formal diction is on use of contraction of words. Two words ‘was’ and ‘not’ of formal diction become ‘wasn’t’ in the informal diction.

Example 05 – I want to open a garment shop at the central market of our city.

Explanation – The informal diction of the above mentioned formal diction is ‘I want to open a clothes shop at the central market of our city.’ Here, the difference between informal and formal diction is on use of one word’ ‘garment’. The word ‘garment’ of formal diction changed into ‘clothes’ in informal diction.

Example 06 – The boy whom I met yesterday was not interested to do the recitation.

Explanation – The informal diction of the above mentioned formal diction is ‘The boy I met yesterday was not interested to do the recitation.’ Here, the difference between informal and formal diction is on use of WH word. The word ‘whom’ of formal diction has been omitted in informal diction.

Example 07 – I have many secrets to share with my best friend.

Explanation – The informal diction of the above mentioned formal diction is ‘Lots secret to share with best friend’. Here, the difference between informal and formal diction is on the concept ‘Omission’. Many words of formal diction have been omitted in informal diction.

Example 08 – My father is going to have retirement from his work life in the coming year.

Explanation – The informal diction of the above mentioned formal diction is ‘Retirement of my father is in next year’. Here, the difference between informal and formal diction is on the concept ‘Omission’. Many words of formal diction have been omitted in informal diction.

Example 09 – Good Evening!  Let’s sit and enjoy our dinner.

Explanation – The informal diction of the above mentioned formal diction is ‘Hi! Let’s enjoy dinner’. Here, the difference between informal and formal diction is on the use of word through which all the listeners have been addressed by the speaker.

Example 10 – After hearing the news of her job loss, Rita collapsed.

Explanation – The informal diction of the above mentioned formal diction is ‘After hearing the news of her job loss, Rita broke down.’ Here, the difference between informal and formal diction is on the use of ‘phrasal verb’. Phrasal verbs are avoidable in formal diction. Thus, the word ‘collapse’ becomes the phrasal verb ‘break down’ in informal diction.

Conclusion –

We must not think that we should always use formal diction to show our grammatical knowledge or our skill on any particular language. Use of formal diction or informal diction completely depends on the situation in which we are interacting.

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