Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Circular and Memo

Circular vs Memo

Perhaps everyone has already heard of the terms “circular” and “memo.” Unfortunately, several people have regarded the two to be the same. However, these terms are fairly different from each other most especially in the field of business communication. The two somewhat differ in terms of the subject matter involved and the way the message is distributed to its intended audience.

The shortened term for “memorandum,” a memo has a content or subject that is somewhat limited. Memos are, therefore, more exclusive in nature. They are made to remind somebody about something that warrants action. One can also pass on an idea or proposal by simply issuing a memo. A circular, on the other hand, often contains several topics. It has also been observed that circulars cover general subject matters.

In terms of distribution, a memo is not widely distributed as compared to a circular. Memos within an institution or company can even be limited to a single person or groups and can be shared as necessary or for the benefit of only those who need to know, like in the case of a typical notice. A circular has a wider distribution to a wider audience or groups of people because it serves more like a general announcement. As such, circulars are commonly issued for advertising purposes so that an agency, firm, or company can issue a formal public statement. The messages are often printed on big posters or simply handed out in simple papers (handouts and leaflets). The usual intention of the one giving the message is for the general public or for as many individuals as possible to know the message.

In the corporate arena, a memo can serve as a form of order or message from the higher ups, which can either be good or bad. There are two types of memos. One is typed while another is handwritten. Today, most memos are made electronically through email with the use of modern-day computers. Nevertheless, memos are usually transmitted in the form of a piece of paper where one can sign it for acknowledgement. This leads to another characteristic of a memo because most, if not all memos, warrant a direct response from the recipient.

Lastly, a memo can also pertain to some legal documents that are commonly used today like the memorandum of agreement, MOA, the memorandum of understanding , MOU, and many more.


1.Circulars are intended for mass distribution whereas memos are intended for a select few.
2.Circulars often bear general announcements and have several subjects while memos often bear a limited subject matter.
3.Memos are more internal and exclusive in nature than circulars.
4.Memos can also pertain to legal documents like the MOA.

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