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

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18
votes
4answers
2k views

Avoiding stuffy language: “Therefore”, “Thus”

In my thesis, I'm using "thus" and "therefore" a lot. This is repetitive and it sounds stuffy. Is there any alternative which sounds a bit more relaxed but is acceptable in scientific writing? "So" ...
0
votes
1answer
30 views

To “opt-out” or to “withdraw”?

Which is more formal in register, opt-out of something or withdraw from something? Are there any more formal ways to phrase the idea?
1
vote
3answers
74 views

How to properly say “the email that I've sent you”? [on hold]

What would be the most formal way to say the following: I wanted to see your thoughts about the email that I sent you last Thursday. I am a little unsure about "the email that I sent you". I feel ...
1
vote
2answers
46 views

What's a formal way to say something is “happening”?

What is a formal way to say something has a lot of activity in it? I can only think of two informal ways to say it. For example: This field of physics is very "happening" right now. This field of ...
2
votes
2answers
62 views

How to distinguish formal words from informal words?

As an English Learner, how can I distinguish (or recognise) formal words from informal words. Also, formal sentences from informal sentences. For example: So/Then/Therefore/Thus and many others. Are ...
0
votes
1answer
30 views

The quality of things you stick with

I was wondering if there is a word in English to describe the quality of things we stick with. For example, if a training is well designed, people will tend to keep using it. Meanwhile, if it's not, ...
0
votes
2answers
27 views

When we are making a project in a group, how can we say that sentence?

Hello I'm preparing a CV in English. What is the formal way of saying I'm in an project? This sentences below are valid or not ? Thanks. I'm included to a project. I have been enrolled to a project. ...
1
vote
1answer
56 views

Is it correct to say ''you ARE to be back here before dark'' [duplicate]

I'm reading a novel and a character says this line:''you ARE to be back here before dark'' but I could not find this usage of the verb to be in my dictionary, so here I ask you if this is informal ...
0
votes
2answers
75 views

the slang contraction of “what'd he” as in the sentence “what'd he come at you with”

What is the slang contraction of "What'd he" as in the sentence "What'd he come at you with"? "What'd he" is already a contraction but I mean in the same manner like whatcha = what're you=what've you, ...
1
vote
1answer
58 views

Alternative for “particularly interested” [closed]

What are other formal ways of saying "I'm particularly interested in..."? In this case it's for use on cover letters for CVs. The synonyms for "interested" offered by the thesaurus don't seem ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

Is the word 'cocksure' considered informal, non-PC, or even vulgar?

None of the following resources seem to think so: Merriam-Webster, The Free Dictionary, Oxford Dictionaries, Collins. But Cambridge Dictionaries Online says it is informal. And it appears on Urban ...
4
votes
5answers
2k views

Is there a formal word for people that are local to a place? [closed]

I wish to write about the people and language of a city I recently visited in an essay. Is there a word for people who are local to a place?
36
votes
14answers
6k views

What can be used as formal euphemism of “hack”?

I'm writing a technical document, and I need to convey the fact that we had to find a non-optimal, non-orthodox solution that was adopted as the best available alternative (a hack) to solve an ...
5
votes
11answers
1k views

What is a formal equivalent of “get (a)round something”?

I'm writing a formal letter and I have to use the verb "get round something" (BrE) or "get around something" (AmE) to express a way of finding an alternate solution to deal with a problem. Quoting the ...
0
votes
0answers
63 views

Is “per se” used more in formal or informal situations?

What is the formality level of "per se"?
1
vote
1answer
61 views

Acceptability of Gonna, Wanna [closed]

How acceptable is it to use wanna, gonna, etc in business or more formal US environments?
4
votes
4answers
123 views

Why do some people say “My name is Doctor / Dr. X” instead of “I'm Doctor / Dr. X”?

I'm Portuguese and I live in Portugal. Here it's (still) common to see some people using their academic/professional title in introductions: "Hi, I'm Doctor / Dr. / Eng. X". However, when watching ...
0
votes
3answers
120 views

What is a formal word meaning “paid off”?

I can not think of any way to say paid off in a formal way. Susan’s speech and struggle during those rough times has _______.
1
vote
1answer
89 views

A formal synonym for “to be asked to do something” [closed]

I'm looking for a formal synonym for the phrase and counting on your help. I was wondering about "request" like in "The guests are requested to wear appropriate attire.", but it doesn't sound good for ...
0
votes
4answers
70 views

Does this sentence sound awkward? [closed]

"Unlike my specific ancestry, he is a biracial individual with roots in Asia and in U.S." I'm having trouble especially in the first section, where I am trying to show that my friend's background is ...
2
votes
1answer
89 views

abbreviation in academic papers [duplicate]

During the paper writing, a question came up into my mind: can abbreviations be used in these articles? There are at least 2 kinds of abbreviations, one is the so-called terminologies(or jargons?) ...
0
votes
1answer
32 views

a private friend x a close friend [closed]

What would be the best way to express intimacy with a friend? A close friend = It would be a friend who doesn't like to talk about? A private Friend = It would be a close friend? I am very ...
4
votes
2answers
257 views

Formal way to say “I believe”

I am writing a chapter in a book and I want to say that "I believe that this researcher is right ....", in a more formal way. Can I say "The present author believes ....."
2
votes
2answers
135 views

Thanks. You got it

Can "You got it, dude " be used as a reply to "thank you" in informal English?
0
votes
3answers
142 views

How to formally say “I just would like to get this over with, so you and I do not have to think about it any more” [closed]

I am currently in a state where my former employee does not respond to my email. I am tired of bothering them. I do not know if my email is blocked, but I do not think it hurts to write things ...
0
votes
2answers
72 views

Less formal synonym for “Confirmed”, “Acknowledged”

I'm looking for a less formal synonym for "Confirmed" or "Ackowledged", that retains some brevity. As an example, say I've received an e-mail from my manager asking me to switch to a different task. ...
1
vote
1answer
62 views

Starting a book with this sentence, is it ok? [closed]

I'd like to start a book with a sentence like this: This book is about X, so why should it start with Y? In fact, the book is already written, but I'd like to get the first few pages absolutely ...
1
vote
2answers
63 views

What is a more formal way of saying “get certifications”?

I would like to create a sentence, in which I express, that I have (successfully) gotten a few certifications, but I feel like this sounds too informal for a letter of application. Has anyone got a ...
1
vote
2answers
185 views

What is a word similar to FYI but not objective/neutral

FYI can be used in an email to inform the person reading the email about some information. It is comfortable using this between peers. But what if the mail is intended to inform someone higher in the ...
5
votes
4answers
722 views

Word for a “Male Mistress”

Is the male version of a mistress, a mastress? It's a term I would use, but I don't know if it is just slang or if it is formal... P.S. I mean a male that sleeps with a married woman (love, not ...
1
vote
2answers
875 views

Is it unprofessional to say “Sorry for my English”? [closed]

First of all I am sorry if this is wrong forum for this question. I have come in a situation recently where I was needed to write a mail to a foreign company. And as you probably noticed by now my ...
0
votes
1answer
57 views

Time period in a date period [closed]

I want to mention the date and time I collected my questionnaires in an academic report. Let's say they are distributed: Time period: 1:00PM - 4:00PM Date period: 1 October 2014 - 3 October ...
2
votes
1answer
64 views

How to best include an introductory phrase before getting to the point? [closed]

This question may seem too large in scope from the title, but here's the preface to the answer I seek. I need to inform my hiring manager (HM) that I have served my last day with my current ...
8
votes
14answers
5k views

What is a good verb to describe the pleasant sound of rain?

Last week, I was up the whole night working in my house in my ultra-quiet neighborhood. Around 3 am, a thunderstorm started and broke the silence of the night. I enjoyed the sound of rain on my window ...
0
votes
0answers
53 views

Formal way of saying “how it feels like to do sth.”?

How may I adapt the following sentence so that the adapted version is formal? Through this internship, I experienced how it feels like to work in a top company.
1
vote
4answers
209 views

Word for an Original Idea

Is there a good word for an idea that someone came up with on their own? I'm talking about an original idea. The reason I want such a word is for my notes so that I can annotate, with as few words ...
0
votes
3answers
108 views

'Was' or 'were' with 'period' & 'eleven years' [duplicate]

I was reading a letter I got from an old friend, back in 1998, and at a certain point she wrote: "Our period of greatest prosperity were those eleven years when Thatcher was in office." ...
0
votes
2answers
128 views

Ellipsis in “can and have occurred”

The side effects can and have occurred. The omitted verb is an infinitive (occur) but the written verb is a past participle (occurred). Is this sentence grammatically correct and suitable for ...
10
votes
7answers
1k views

Is “to boil down” formal enough to be used in scientific writing? [closed]

The phrase to boil down to something can be found in most dictionaries. However, to me, it sounds colloquial to write Finding an exact solution to Eq. 1 boils down to ... A real-life ...
0
votes
4answers
112 views

Word for a person who is responsible for their job and doesn't neglect it

This is a topic for a TOEFL essay: What are some important qualities of a good supervisor (boss)? Now I'm looking for a word that best describes a supervisor that doesn't neglect their work, and ...
0
votes
1answer
71 views

What is the best time / are the best times for a meeting?

I'm about to arrange a meeting with a person. I have a feeling that when I say "What is the best time for a meeting?", I'm sort of forcing them to come up with one option only. I'd like to show them ...
1
vote
2answers
74 views

“(1) stop, (2) drop, (3) and roll” or “(1) stop, (2) drop, and (3) roll” [closed]

Which is correct, formally speaking, or is either acceptable based on style and consistency?
2
votes
1answer
182 views

Formal Version of “Getting Around”

I am writing an essay about The Catcher in the Rye, and need to mention Stradlater's ability to get with basically any girl he wants. It can be said that he "gets around" (sorry for lack of a better ...
0
votes
1answer
55 views

Alternatives to “intoxicates” in formal writing

In the following sentence: Stephano intoxicates Trinculo and Caliban. To me, the wording is awkward. I would like to find alternatives to intoxicates in formal writing, but I cannot discern what ...
1
vote
1answer
211 views

“Formal English” - Can its meaning vary from place to place? From person to person?

Can it be opinion based? Whenever I ask a question here about word usage in formal English, I will invariably get a comment saying "It depends on what you mean by formal English". Isn't there an ...
1
vote
2answers
204 views

“simply”, “merely” and “only” - Are they interchageable in formal writing?

In the following sentence: "They are ....... wasting their time." Would "simply", "merely" and "only" be interchangeable? When I was a student of English I was taught the use of "simply" in formal ...
-1
votes
1answer
324 views

Is it acceptable to say “I don't have a clue” meaning “I don't know” in formal English?

I'm a non-native speaker. When I was a student of English my teachers mentioned this answer was to be avoided in formal situations, except for its literal meaning. Years later I heard it twice, as a ...
-1
votes
1answer
29 views

What should I write under “signed” tag? [closed]

Signing english documents (UK, if that changes anything) I am wondering what should I write under "Signed" tag? I wouldn't have doubts if the blank would be described as "Signature", but "Signed"? And ...
0
votes
2answers
1k views

Is the question/greeting “How're you going?” correct usage?

I was just wondering if the question/greeting "How're you going?" is correct usage? I know it's more prevalent in Australia because I live here and have heard it very often. I guess the American ...
3
votes
0answers
57 views

Did I “say” that online, or did I “write” it? [closed]

When we refer to something someone else has previously spoken or written, we usually differentiate between the spoken and written word with the verb introducing the quote or paraphrase: In his ...