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

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3answers
66 views

Is it acceptable to use “math” in an admissions essay?

I am writing a college admissions essay and would like to get a professional opinion on whether it is acceptable to use the truncated and informal version of the word "mathematics" as "math". I ask ...
-1
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4answers
257 views

“Talking to someone is nice.” or “It is nice to talk to someone.” but “It was nice, talking to you.” Why?

General statement: a. Talking to someone is nice. (verb as subject in front position = gerund) or b. It is nice to talk to someone. (verb as subject after dummy subject 'it' = full infinitive) ...
0
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1answer
256 views

“The next big thing” phrase

Is the phrase "The next big thing" considered a formal or a slang phrase? Especially when communicating with a professional committee.
2
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3answers
131 views

Informal Suffix Usage: -ity/ety

Sometimes in very informal or comic book language one will see phrases such as "bonkity bonk", "flippity-flop", and "knockity knock". Other examples include "crunchity", "swirlity", etc, etc. I have ...
1
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1answer
94 views

Is it possible to say “ASAP” instead of “as soon as possible” when we speak? [closed]

Or is it just an abbreviation that should be written just on paper? I heard Al Pacino say "asap" on the phone when he was talking with his friend. What about pm? Could we say p m instead of prime ...
1
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2answers
89 views

Formal alternative to phrasal verb “turn down”

I wish to state on my curriculum vitae something along the following line: Scholarship turned down to pursue a career in industry. I find phrasal verbs (like turn down) rather informal. Is there a ...
0
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1answer
244 views

Studied, having studied or has studied?

This is a translation of my high school graduation certificate: This is to certify that XXX, male, ethnic group of Han, born in March 1988, native of A County, B City, C Province, studied in our ...
64
votes
17answers
21k views

A formal way to say “I don't want to sound too cocky…”

Allow me to clear the situation. I was talking with my professor about a piece of software that I had developed. While we were discussing, I wanted to say something like I don't want to sound too ...
0
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4answers
155 views

The expression “not so much”

I have noticed the appearance of the phrase "not so much" in the language recently.It strikes me as both grammatically incorrect and humorous when used. For example,"Jim is very smart;his ...
3
votes
2answers
164 views

Which word(s) can be used to express causal relation in modern English?

I will skip it over, because nobody will have doubt on this. Since nobody will have doubt on this, I will skip it over. I will skip it over, for nobody will have doubt on this. An ...
2
votes
3answers
284 views

How accepted is ‘f***ing’ in informal conversation?

I live in Brazil and speak English as a foreign language. For the past twenty years I've heard people use the adjective fucking more often than ever before in the US: in real life, in movies and on ...
1
vote
2answers
519 views

Formal way of saying “when you are in need”

How can I write following in a formal way? It will help you when you are in need. It will help you when it is required. It will help you when needed. It will help you when you required to be helped. ...
-1
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1answer
415 views

What complimentary close to use in continuous formal email?

I am a student in contact with a business owner, and I am having a hard time deciding on a complimentary close. Should I use it for every email I send him? I don't want to make it redundant since it ...
0
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0answers
43 views

Signing off with “Best” instead of “Best regards” [duplicate]

I'm active on many different online forums and platforms and do much communication with my own customers and customers of a company I am employed at. The signature I used to sign off a post or email ...
1
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1answer
95 views

Is 'acronymise/ze' a word? Is it used only colloquially, if at all?

I just sent a text to a friend, who didn't understand an acronym I used for a game: "Ah, I said it in a previous text so thought it was ok to abbreviate it." Though, since it was an acronym I ...
1
vote
1answer
406 views

What's the formal and informal reply to question “Let's meet XXXX” [closed]

My professor wrote an email to me and said "Let's meet Thursday". I do not know how to reply this email formally and politely. In addition, if a friend said "Let's meet XXX" in an informal occasion, ...
2
votes
1answer
245 views

“However” vs. “but” — which is more formal?

I realize there are questions on the correct usage of "but" and "however". In this case, I am concerned with correctness in a formal context. I have heard it said that however should be used in ...
0
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0answers
23 views

Gender-neutral possessive [duplicate]

I often use their as a gender-neutral term. Example: When a writer promotes their work ... But I am not sure whether this is acceptable English, or whether this is rather colloquial. I.e. can a ...
1
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3answers
222 views

Can altering the syntax of a sentence, without in any way changing the diction used in describing the subject itself, change the subject's number?

There have been debates raging both here and on ELL about this, but the question has, to this point, been focused solely on expletive constructions with compound subjects. This is not intended to ask ...
1
vote
2answers
290 views

Relative clauses with prepositional verb phrase

The people ø you work with are your 'colleagues'. The people that you work with are your 'colleagues'. The people who you work with are your 'colleagues'. The people whom you work with are ...
2
votes
3answers
230 views

How to say in a formal way that a car outside of the building is ready?

At work today I wanted to tell our guests that a car was waiting for them. Is there a formal way to say that? Are "The car is waiting for you" and "The car is ready" correct?
1
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1answer
425 views

Mix active and passive voice in the thesis

I am starting to write my thesis and was told not to use passive voice. But the active voice pronouns "I" and "we" do not sound right somehow and I even found this link How to Write... encouraging ...
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1answer
112 views

Express more formally [closed]

How can I say these sentences in a more formal way? Glad you're OK Great news , got the job Sorry, can't make it next Saturday it's still ok for Friday? Thanks loads! can't wait to see you
2
votes
3answers
292 views

Is there a non-colloquial equivalent term for “cool”?

As I get older (into my 30s) the less I feel like using youthful slang, and I take extra pride in using professional English. But I can't think of a word that is universally equivalent to the ...
0
votes
2answers
240 views

How can I say “Staff Only” with a formal warning sentence?

I need to write a door writing that states formally, "students are not welcomed in this kitchen, please use the café..." I've drafted some examples but I was wondering if there is a formal sentence ...
0
votes
1answer
99 views

“hot topic” as phrase in thesis

I'm currently writing the introduction of my Ph.D. thesis, which is about theoretical computer science. I stumbled upon the phrase To put it in a nutshell, X is a hot topic where X refers to ...
0
votes
1answer
496 views

Three formal ways to express “we got very good comments”

A question from a non-native speaker: For some reason I have to find at least three different formal ways to express "we got very good comments". The context is like "our paper got published and the ...
0
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3answers
573 views

I've finished my studies and currently looking for a job?

I'm writing my first CV (resume) before applying for some jobs. Is the following sentence grammatically correct? I've finished my studies and currently looking for a job
0
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1answer
88 views

Single word for “always new requirements”

Is there any word to express "always new needs emerge"? Can renewable be sufficient for this? The context is something like "cannot satisfy the endless renewable needs", in an academic article.
0
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1answer
107 views

The grammar restriction of dash and parentheses

This is a follow-up to my previous question. The answerer mentioned that when parentheses are used for inserting contents in a sentence, the grammar flexibility is assumed to be higher. If that is ...
1
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2answers
140 views

Mixed Conditionals

This question is about conditionals If I had money, I would give it you conditional 2 (present tense) If I had money, I would have given it to you conditional 3 (Past tense) But I've ...
1
vote
1answer
66 views

Usage of “odyssey” and “splendid”

I started my odyssey on the splendid world of mathematics when... Is this a right way to use the word "odyssey"? Is "odyssey on sth." correct? Can I use "splendid" to describe the world of ...
0
votes
1answer
643 views

Usage of “though” in formal writing

Consider the following text: "It is a bicycle. How do we know it is a bicycle, though?". Would this be a reasonable use of though in formal writing (in an essay)? What are the ways of avoiding this ...
1
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1answer
142 views

Which valediction should I use with my boss?

I work as a freelancer for a company and I do most of my communication via e-mails. My boss usually ends his mails with "cheers" whereas I always use "regards". Are there any alternatives to ...
3
votes
4answers
762 views

Usage of “ladies and gentlemen” to address two people of diiferent sex

It seems to be not quite logical to use the traditional address "ladies and gentlemen" when there are only a single lady and a single gentleman in the room, not counting for the person who is ...
0
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2answers
76 views

Usage of “convivial”

Is "convivial" a formal and uncommon word? Can I say "a convivial community"?
2
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6answers
1k views

Is there a more formal option for 'just in case'?

It was addressed before, but the question was too specific, thus doesn't resolve my issue. I'm expecting a general answer, though provide an example as well. For instance, I'm writing a letter and ...
0
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3answers
509 views

Usage of 'Hi' and 'Dear' in Formal Communication

I always hesitate using 'Hi' in formal mails. Is it OK to use it like "Hi Sir,..."? Same with 'Dear Junior,...'. Any help would be appreciated.
1
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2answers
127 views

Data as a plural noun [duplicate]

In an academic writing, is it correct to make reference to "the data itself", being that data is a plural noun and itself is a singular pronoun?
1
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3answers
107 views

How to semi-formally address a senior academic? [closed]

What is a proper way to address a person with the title of a Professor in a way which is less formal than "Dear Professor", but still conveys some respect? For example, suppose I am talking to ...
3
votes
4answers
460 views

Is “am” ever proper English without an “I” somewhere before or after it? [duplicate]

For a long time, I have been convinced that the use of the word am without the word I either before or after it is incorrect. For instance, saying Am going all by itself. However, I recently ran a ...
0
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3answers
816 views

What is the correct use of commas when using the word “attached” [closed]

What is the correct comma use in the following sentence? Per our earlier conversation, attached, please find the document.
1
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2answers
1k views

Use “you” or “one” in formal writing?

Sometimes people tell me that I should avoid using "you" in formal writing and insist on telling me to use "one" ("One should not use 'you'" as opposed to "You should not use 'you'"). Are there any ...
0
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1answer
2k views

“…that I have not got”, vs. “gotten”? [duplicate]

In such a context as... I have never applied to job that I cannot do, nor to one that I have not gotten. vs. I have never applied to job that I cannot do, nor to one that I have not got. ...
1
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3answers
8k views

How do you abbreviate “Government”?

As far as I can tell there are eight ways to abbreviate or write the contracted form "government". gov or Gov gov. or Gov. gov't or Gov't govt. or Govt. (with the full stop/period) Are any of ...
1
vote
1answer
4k views

“Make sure to” vs. “Be sure to”: Is the first one correct?

These two versions below are used interchangeably where I live now in the United States: Make sure to do something. Be sure to do something. But I always have found the first version clumsy. I ...
6
votes
8answers
7k views

“have” vs.“have got” in American and British English

I have looked through several questions and answers on EL&U, and often there is an indication that American English prefers "have" while British English prefers "have got". In addition, there are ...
0
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1answer
183 views

When writing a formal report is it bad to make up names when giving an example?

I was giving an example and was trying to immerse the reader in the experience as much as possible and made up a man's name. Consider the following example: Joseph is testing a program built for ...
1
vote
3answers
144 views

Preposition to choose when referring to something from a book

Which would be better to say? He reminds me of Dill from To Kill a Mockingbird. He reminds me of Dill in To Kill a Mockingbird. He reminds me of Dill of To Kill a Mockingbird. Also, ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

Is the expression, “having a good time” too personal?

Me and a colleague were jointly writing an email to an English speaking business partner when a discussion arose on how to formulate a sentence. The business partner is currently on vacation, so I ...