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

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4
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4answers
61 views

Is it correct to use elipses in a formal essay?

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
84 views

“Pardon” vs “Please can you repeat that”?

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
24 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
61 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
47 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
votes
0answers
23 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
72 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
58 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
vote
2answers
318 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
73 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
42 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
1k 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
114 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
125 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
45 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
78 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
96 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
281 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
328 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
75 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
52 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
41 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
40 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
62 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
82 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
70 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
votes
0answers
43 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
97 views

“road” vs. “pavement” vs. “roadway” for French “chaussée” [road surface] in AmEng vernacular

What's the difference between those terms? Can they be used just about interchangeably? road: a long, narrow stretch with a leveled or paved surface, made for traveling by motor vehicle, carriage, ...
2
votes
1answer
95 views

Common ways to tell the time

I'm a non-native speaker. In school, I was taught that the proper way of telling times in English is X o' clock. In NAE, would it be common to omit o' clock and just say something like: It's ...
6
votes
2answers
113 views

Assessing Formality via the Root of the Word

Firstly, I'd point out that as this is a slightly open-ended question I'm not certain how well it fits in with the guideline. I'm hoping that the fact there's a way to define an answer means that it ...
5
votes
2answers
251 views

“The government 'is' always changing 'their' mind” in AmEng

Why would using the construct "is/their" instead of "is/its" in the following examples likely be frowned upon by some native speakers and marked as incorrect on tests? The class is working on its ...
-1
votes
2answers
60 views

“Should” as formal IF

Can a phrase starting with "if" always be replaced with a phrase with a phrase starting with SHOULD? It doesn't seem like we can make a direct substitution. For example, we say If he askED you ...
1
vote
1answer
47 views

“Heck” in formal writing

So I'm trying to make a proper transition to the next sentence and was wondering if I could use "heck" in such formal context. The AI will recognize people entering the apartment and greet them ...
1
vote
1answer
29 views

School or education in my resume?

I'm filling an employment application, so I want to know what is the most formal way to refer to my education block. Personal information. -Name: -Age: -Address: -Phone: Introduction & Goals. ...
0
votes
2answers
82 views

Offer me (something) or offer (something) for me?

I have an issue with the usage of the word offer. This particular sentence below is giving me a headache. I am positive that these two subjects can offer me the best opportunities, as I take ...
-1
votes
2answers
89 views

Is it formal to say “I've met people I was able to connect with”? [closed]

I would like to say the following: "During my daily work I’ve met many interesting people I was able to connect with." Is this right in a formal way? What I would like to say is that I did ...
0
votes
2answers
63 views

How to request to be addressed by one's title and surname [closed]

I am wondering if anyone might have a suggestion about how to request to be addressed by a personal title and one's surname. For example, I prefer to be addressed as, "Mr. Redgate," but I do not wish ...
1
vote
1answer
66 views

How to finish a letter in a conciliatory manner [closed]

I have drafted a letter to someone who works in the same team as me, discussing some issues regarding teamworking and I want to finish the letter by saying that I hope they receive the letter in a ...
0
votes
1answer
68 views

Is “then” considered as informal in a technical report? [closed]

It is correct to use "then" in a formal sentence? Here is an example sentence: "In case that a cylinder is not at end position then the operator has to move manually the cylinder in order to meet ...
2
votes
3answers
79 views

“Lest” or “Or?”

Colloquially, I would always use or where I would formally use lest. For example, "go to sleep, or you'll be tired" versus "go to sleep, lest you be tired." Has this usage of or been around for ...
2
votes
2answers
105 views

“woodsy” vs. “woody” for “covered with trees/wooded” in NAmEng

What's the difference between those terms? Context would be a quaint little village nestled into a hillside covered with trees, sort of like this one. WOODY: 4. Abounding in trees; wooded. ...
0
votes
2answers
47 views

Better phrases to describe “taking A-levels” or any other course

What phrase should I use when writing about my qualifications? I feel like saying e.g. "I am taking A-levels" sounds informal (A-levels is the examination students in England take). What other verb or ...
3
votes
6answers
728 views

Formal way of saying “I'm on it” [closed]

Want to answer to my supervisor's question about the status of a task. What come's to my mind is "I'm on it". What's a more formal way of saying that?
3
votes
0answers
48 views

Is “I like [adjective]” acceptable in formal contexts? [closed]

Lately I've seen a lot this "I like [adjective]" structure. I really like this kind of "untranslatable" structures because those are the ones that make me feel I'm really speaking English (and not ...
1
vote
3answers
64 views

Is “I would like to know” informal? [closed]

I'm sending an e-mail to schedule my internship. Is this sentence, "I would like to know if I can cover up Thursday's by working extra hours on other days." sounds informal? Is there a better way to ...
1
vote
1answer
79 views

Is it wise to specify a country name in brackets when referring to foreign city in an official document

While writing a formal document in an English language, I would like to know whether it's wise to specify a country name in brackets when referring to foreign city in an official document. For ...
2
votes
1answer
91 views

“I'm all about that bass”

My question is all about the perceived formality of using about in the sentences like I'm all about that bass. How (in)formal is using about like this? OED has this definition for this usage: to ...
0
votes
0answers
34 views

Noun and Adjective position

In a formal engineering document about an HTML file, a colleague of mine wrote the next thing (starting a sentence): Tag <color> shall be repeated at least 5 times [...] (For the sake of ...
2
votes
1answer
87 views

Differences between formal and colloquial English? [closed]

What are the basic differences between formal and colloquial English? Is it right that colloquial English uses more contracted forms, slang expressions, phrasal verbs, subjunctive, and euphemisms? ...