This tag is for questions regarding formal, versus informal words and usage.

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1answer
15 views

“element identification techniques” or “techniques of element identification” [duplicate]

I don't know how this phenomenon is called. Simply put, I can either put the noun to the end and place it's properties before, or I can use "of". What is the difference, is some form more formal and ...
0
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0answers
29 views

Using slang in formal writing [on hold]

Is it appropriate to use the expression "are you up for something" in business writing? I have a client who knows me and my family personally, but I still want to be professional when writing. So, ...
0
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0answers
33 views

Greetings after saying Hello in noon, afternoon and evening in formal visits

In morning we usually say Good Morning. But what about noon, afternoon and evening. In informal visits we can use 'how u doing', 'what's up', 'how are you'. But what about formal situations? What ...
0
votes
1answer
31 views

More formal alternative for “called” [on hold]

Is the word "called" used appropriately? The following sentences come from motivation letters and thesis. I had an opportunity to attend a seminar at an agency called XYZ Group. I studied ...
0
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0answers
28 views

A more formal way of saying “He followed their tracks” [on hold]

What is a more formal way of saying, "he soon followed the boys tracks"? All answers appreciated
0
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0answers
33 views

What is the purpose of the word “that” in a sentence like “This means that I am unable to sleep.” [on hold]

I am curious about what the formal purpose the word "that" provides in the above sentence vs something like "This means I am unable to sleep". Similarly what about the purpose of "that" in the below ...
0
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0answers
19 views

Can I start a sentence with “To do so,..”

Ex: I will cook a rabbit. To do so, I will have to hunt one in the forest. Is this construction correct? Can it be used in a formal sentence? Thanks a lot!
1
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0answers
36 views

Neither A nor B

As a native speaker, the basic usage of "neither" and "nor" are perfectly clear to me. However, natives may suffer from colloquial usage sounding more normal than formal grammar. I definitely have ...
0
votes
1answer
30 views

Formal Writing “Persuade” vs. “Convince”

A colleague of mine is a second language speaker of English. He is seeking work in academia after he graduates with a cover letter. Would it be more appropriate to use "Persuade" or "Convince" a ...
2
votes
2answers
59 views

Formal for “move the focus from A to B”?

What is a formal way of saying "move the focus from A to B" in the following context? The two curves swap their locations when we move our focus from measure A to measure B. My some lousy ...
1
vote
4answers
67 views

How can I write this in a more formal way? [closed]

Is there a formal way to say "from the horse's mouth"?
0
votes
2answers
76 views

“Could you Please provide me the details…”? [closed]

When we write a business email and want some information from the mail recipient, then which is the most professional way to ask for information. Does using "Please" in a sentence makes it look bad?
-1
votes
0answers
23 views

“You do it” Stressing on the first person

There is an expression in my language which stresses on the person you are talking to. You would expect it in any informal conversation like this Person1: Wash the car, Jack. Jack: You do ...
1
vote
3answers
50 views

Formal and polite way to tell someone “if you had told me”? [closed]

What's a formal and polite way to tell somebody "if you had told me in advance?" I'm writing an e-mail to someone who asked a month ago for a copy of a document delivered by postal mail. Turns out a ...
0
votes
2answers
22 views

Use of 'this' – relates to the directly preceding noun

I am a german native speaker. I am currently in the finishing stages of writing a thesis. One of my advisors (English is his mother tongue) provided feedback on the language of my writing. One point ...
0
votes
1answer
44 views

“The name is” or “My name is”

What is the fundamental difference between saying "The name is X" or " My name is X" to introduce yourself? It seems that both versions are used in movies/tv shows, but as far as I recall, no one ...
0
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0answers
29 views

How to address a person whose gender is not known [duplicate]

I want to write a formal letter. I know the name of address but do not the gender. How should I address him/her?
0
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0answers
29 views

What is a word for an entity which only provides a predefined set of tasks but doesn't want to engage new types of tasks?

Let's assume an entity was created to satisfy a predefined set of tasks, and cannot accommodate other new types of tasks. What is a formal word for this? For example, a service provider provider ...
11
votes
5answers
2k views

Is the word “stool” an informal word or a formal word?

Is the word "stool" an informal word or a formal word? I think it is a kind of formal word, especially a medical word. It is used in several academic papers and articles, and also doctors like using ...
4
votes
2answers
76 views

Will usage of “Dear” while addressing in mail, sound informal? [closed]

I see many people using "Dear" while addressing people in email. But, I feel "Dear" is more intimate word in English and should be used with only relations. How does the word "Dear" is used at all ...
2
votes
2answers
44 views

What's the difference between “formal” and “literary” language?

Sometimes when I look up the meaning of a word in google, like just now for "gustatory", not only do I get what part of speech it is but also added information, such as that it's a "formal" adjective. ...
0
votes
1answer
34 views

How to capitalise the first word of a sentence if it's been elided?

The example I have just come across: 'fraid we don't do it that way anymore. Or should it be: 'Fraid we don't do it that way anymore. Using either 'fraid is casual anyway because it should (more ...
4
votes
4answers
84 views

Is it correct to use elipses in a formal essay? [closed]

I'm writing an essay and I want to write: These things all prove that Hitler was not a man of his word … So should England have trusted him? and then continue with my next points. Is this ...
1
vote
3answers
99 views

“Pardon” vs “Please can you repeat that”? [closed]

In a client/business conference call , when you do not hear, what the speaker was saying or the message was unclear due to noise disturbance, what is the professional way to say it:- Pardon Could ...
0
votes
1answer
38 views

Any difference between pleasure to us to… vs. pleasure of ours to…?

I am writing a super-formal letter (it is a semi-legal text) and I am unsure if there is any sensible difference between writing "It is a great pleasure to us to..." (26,200,000 hits on Google) ...
2
votes
2answers
93 views

polite questions vs. direct questions: real life reactions [closed]

In English courses (especially business), we learn to use polite questions. So we know that you shouldn't say "excuse me... where's the nearest supermarket, please?" but rather "excuse me... do you ...
0
votes
2answers
56 views

Another verb for “speaks to”

I often hear the phrase 'speak to' used as a verb. For example, "This event speaks to the need for good communication" or "Samantha, can you please speak to these dot points?" It seems appropriate ...
0
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0answers
37 views

“Am I (ever) [adj.] ” vs. “How [adj.] I am”

What's the difference between saying, Boy, am I happy to see you again! Damn, am I ever lucky to have a friend like you! -and- Boy, how happy I am to see you again! Damn, how lucky ...
0
votes
1answer
87 views

What's a more professional or formal way to say that someone is “cowering/hiding behind their keyboard”?

I am trying to explain how a lot of people online have a lack of accountability on the internet by hiding behind their keyboards.
-1
votes
1answer
91 views

“Kindly” vs “Please” : Which is better in official emails? [closed]

Consider the below sentences:- 1. Kindly review the document and let me know if I need to change something. 2. Please review the document and let me know if I need to change something. 3. Could you ...
-1
votes
2answers
343 views

Is “hail from (somewhere)” necessarily formal English?

Macmillan dictionary says hail from is "formal". link Cambridge dictionary notes hail from as "formal" in British English but doesn't say this for American English. link Oxford Learners ...
1
vote
1answer
116 views

Is using the word “Likewise” in a sentence not professional or informal? [closed]

Last evening in my communication class, we had some discussion. In that discussion I used the word likewise in a sentence. But they said using likewise in a sentence anywhere is not professional or it ...
0
votes
1answer
72 views

“call someone/something” vs. “call someone/something up” for "make a phone call to someone/something

What's the difference between call and call up to mean make a telephone call to? Is the latter any more informal than the former, or is it mainly a regional thing? call someone or something up ...
1
vote
2answers
8k views

How is the sentence “My mama don't like you, but she likes everyone” correct?

I just heard Love yourself by Justin Bieber. I thought I heard "My mama didn't like you but she likes everyone" from the song. Then later I found lyrics on some websites(listed bellow) but it's not ...
4
votes
2answers
142 views

“throw out/away” vs. “toss (out)” vs. “pitch (out/away)” for “dispose of; discard; get rid of as worthless or useless” in AmEng

What's the difference between "throw out/away," "toss out," and "pitch (out/away)" to mean, "get rid of as worthless or unnecessary"? Can these be used just about interchangeably? THROW AWAY Also,...
6
votes
2answers
155 views

Usage of “homework,” “schoolwork,” and “assignment” in AmEng for schoolwork given to students to do at home

As far as AmEng goes, is there any difference in using either homework, schoolwork, or assignment to call schoolwork given to students to be done at home? Can these be used just about interchangeably? ...
0
votes
1answer
57 views

“Puff words”: What is a good definition or explanation for this term by David Foster Wallace?

The late David Foster Wallace at least once used the term “puff words” to describe, I assume, the type of words in the list below that are not in parentheses. What exactly did Wallace mean by “puff ...
0
votes
1answer
137 views

Formal way to say “if it doesn't work out for you, then never mind” [closed]

I am writing an email asking for a change of meeting time. The recipient is a very important client who I've never met. And here is what I wrote: Please ignore the request if it causes ...
1
vote
2answers
110 views

temporal “directly” in AmEng usage: “immediately/without delay” or “shortly/in a little while”?

What does directly commonly mean in standard AmEng when used as a temporal adverb, immediately/instantly/at once/right away/without delay -or- soon/shortly/in a little while? DIRECTLY At ...
5
votes
3answers
292 views

“conclude” vs. “decide” in AmEng

Can, in some instances, conclude and decide be used just about interchangeably as far as AmEng goes? Please, consider the following examples: The committee concluded on a plan of action. The ...
4
votes
4answers
461 views

“[will] likely” vs. “[will] probably” in AmEng usage

As far as AmEng goes, can likely be an acceptable alternate to probably in the following OUP quiz? The traffic is terrible so I'll probably be late this morning. Climate change is likely to ...
1
vote
1answer
117 views

How etiquettical is it to start off a professional email with 'Hey'?

I've been wondering, why whould folks avoid the usage of Hey to greet someone/team as the mail starts, did that really read grotesque? What could be the alternatives other than the conventionals?
1
vote
1answer
58 views

“separate” and “terminate” for “dismiss/discharge” from employment in AmEng

According to Oxford Dictionary Online, separate US Discharge or dismiss (someone) from service or employment. terminate chiefly North American End the employment of (someone); dismiss: ...
0
votes
2answers
47 views

What is “gonna transfer in” means?

In my try to mix up English learning with web surfing I have been sticking on Reddit sometimes. Mostly my problems are in informal language which used in memes or comic strips. So, there is the ...
0
votes
2answers
51 views

Is “set me up” too informal? [closed]

I am ESL and am not really comfortable creating formal emails. Right now I am trying to formulate a thank you email to the operations manager for taking time to set me up with everything needed for a ...
0
votes
3answers
65 views

How to understand the pronunciation of informal English? [closed]

I moved to English speaking country a while ago. I always thought that my English is pretty well in both speaking and listening (understanding) parts. I understand 100% what is being said for ...
1
vote
1answer
126 views

“Find in page” vs “find on page”

I'd like to find some thoughts and opinions related to this question. First of all, I noticed that there are two forms used in Web browsers' menus: MS Internet Explorer uses "Find on page" meanwhile ...
0
votes
0answers
23 views

Hiding the aux. verb and subject at the beginning of a question [duplicate]

I was watching 10 Things I Hate About You today, and at some point the protagonist's father starts up the following dialogue: Hello Katerine. Make anyone cry today? Sadly, no. But it's only 4:30. ...
0
votes
1answer
83 views

Can I use meet for an online meeting?

I would like to know if I can say "We can meet on Monday or Tuesday" in email as a reply to a sales person's email asking for a couple of days options for an online meeting -- a sort of Skype call. I ...
0
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0answers
61 views

Opposite of 'buckle up'

If I wanted a kid in my car to fasten his/her seatbelt, I'd say 'Buckle up!'. It is an informal expression, and I'm wondering if there is a phrasal verb with the opposite meaning (to unfasten/...