Difference between Formal and Semi Formal

Key Difference: Formal is often associated with the conventional or etiquette. It refers to be in accord with the established procedures, forms, conventions or rules. It is also associated with official norms. On the other hand, semi formal denotes a style combining the formal and informal elements. It is neither too formal nor too casual.

Formal and informal are just opposite to each other in context to their meanings. Formal defines an official style or manner. On the other hand, informal can be associated with a casual or a friendly manner. Semi formal lies in between. It is associated with the style that is neither formal nor completely informal.

Formal is associated with something that is in accord with established forms or standards. It is also associated with the conventional forms. Formal is the opposite of casual. Semi formal is sometimes difficult to explain as it depends upon an individual to choose among the elements of casual and formal to create a mix form of semi formal.

Comparison between Formal and Semi Formal:



Semi Formal

Definition (Dictionary.com)

  • Being in accordance with the usual requirements, customs, etc.; conventional: to pay one's formal respects.
  • Marked by form or ceremony: a formal occasion.
  • Designed for wear or use at occasions or events marked by elaborate ceremony or prescribed social observance: The formal attire included tuxedos and full-length gowns.
  • Requiring a type of dress suitable for such occasions: a formal dance.
  • Observant of conventional requirements of behavior, procedure, etc., as persons; ceremonious.
  • Partly formal; containing some formal elements.

Examples in sentences

  • They are planning to host a formal dinner party.
  • A formal request is to be made by the ministers.
  • The word ‘shall’ is generally used in formal situations.
  • She was wearing a semi formal dress.
  • It is just a semi formal invitation.
  • It was a semi formal party.


A formal dress refers to the dress that is regarded to be suitable for events like wedding, garden party, etc.  For men, a formal dress is generally a business suit.

A semi formal dress refers to a dress that is found to be appropriate to wear in business events or parties.


A type of letter that is written according to a standard business format. This letter is generally written for correspondence between organizations and customers, etc.

A type of letter that is generally sent to unfamiliar people, but in a polite and respectful manner.


A formal language is language that has no grammar or spelling mistakes.

A semi professional language contains components of a formal and an informal language.


Generally uses passive voice, no use of slang.  It contains Latinate verbs.

Generally uses a mixture of both; active and passive voice. It may use slang. It contains a mixture of Latinate and Phrasal verbs.


Formal meetings are preplanned with a fixed agenda to be discussed. It takes place in an official set-up.

Generally, in semi formal meetings, public is invited to listen to the speaker.

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The matter you posted is not fit to the screen it only displaying h a l f matter what I want to say is I can only see one difference that is formal communication but not semi formal next time please post in correct manner thank you ji Vamsi Sai

Hi Vamsi, thank you for bringing this to our attention. We are not aware of it. We'll work on it ASAP. Thanks.

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