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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (2)

7
votes
3answers
529 views

I haven't seen her “for”/“in” two days

What's the difference between using either for or in in the following examples? Bill hasn't taken a vacation for/in two years. Jack hasn't been to school for/in four days. I hadn't seen ...
0
votes
1answer
93 views

Word for not knowing if something is good or bad?

So I'm trying to find a word for if you are unsure whether something could be good or could be bad. The context I'm using it in is that a character noticed something about themselves that they are ...
1
vote
1answer
63 views

Formal - Its a pity [closed]

For an event, I've invited some speakers (University professors); one of them can't make it to the event and I want to say: Its a pity that you can't show up. How can I say this more formally? ...
0
votes
1answer
41 views

Formal words for “make a stride”?

I came across "make a stride" while I read some articles about global climate change. However, I am not sure if that is formal enough to use in writing an academic essay. If not, what are the formal ...
0
votes
1answer
52 views

Is the word “like” wrong?

Here is my example (from an SAT question): Like his other cookbooks, in his new book Chef Louis offers lengthy explanations of what he considers to be basic cooking principles. The error was ...
2
votes
2answers
346 views

Is the expression “in seek of” acceptable?

Is this sentence correct, or are there better ways to express it: In seek of an ideal start for my career, I am applying for the PhD program at your school. Am I using the wrong verb here, ...
1
vote
5answers
73 views

Formal word for “wow factor”

I am wondering if there is any formal word or phrase for "wow factor" that shows same level of excitement positively.
-1
votes
1answer
117 views

Can we use both “gonna” and “wanna” together? [closed]

For instance, can we say "I'm gonna wanna do it". or is it better to say "I am going to want to do it". It shouldn't be grammatically incorrect, but can we consider this is not common even in informal ...
0
votes
2answers
83 views

Is it ok to start a sentence with “seems”?

In a formal paper, would it be alright to include a sentence such as "Seems as if the extremist Muslims are being highlighted by the media to perpetuate stereotypes" or "Seems that the media is ...
2
votes
2answers
71 views

Is “from all over” ok in a formal text?

Context: academic, resume-like document detailing a person's achievements. "The institute has attracted people from all over the University" Does the above sound okay, or is the "from all over" an ...
1
vote
2answers
37 views

Is “play it safe” informal register?

On a rather formal ecommerce website I am talking about safety features a product has which competitors are lacking. The customer is considered business-like, and not as a buddy. Play it safe. ...
0
votes
0answers
28 views

Is “The first thing” too casual for an academic paper?

Suppose I'm writing an academic paper. Is, "The first thing" in "The first thing that I want to challenge is the idea that..." too informal? If so, is there a more formal phrase I can put there ...
1
vote
1answer
45 views

Using 'You' or 'I' in Forms

Which one of the following is better/more common/more widely accepted, when writing a form to be filled out as part of a survey? Option 1: Q1. My preferred investment option: ________ (list of ...
1
vote
0answers
20 views

In a thesis work, what form I should use to indicate a website names?

in the specific, I have one o more website that acts as subject in a sentence, I'm wondering if it is correct and if I should use the quotation marks e.g.: www.amazon.com is the only present in ...
1
vote
1answer
45 views

Do more contractions always mean more informality?

As my limited experience in English indicates, more contractions are used in spoken English than in written. Moreover, too many contractions favor casualness. Compare: I would not have come. I ...
0
votes
1answer
79 views

More formal alternative of “good” for describing some work [closed]

What is a more formal alternative of saying "good" for describing a work? e.g. "The work looks good." I don't want an adjective with more intensity than "good" such as "remarkable", "outstadning", ...
2
votes
1answer
54 views

Is the infinitive at the end of “I did whatever I wanted to do” necessary?

In a statement such as "I did whatever I wanted to do," or "I wore whatever clothes I wanted to wear," are the infinitives "to do" and "to wear" necessary? Is it improper to say "I did whatever I ...
0
votes
0answers
51 views

CV writing help - grammar question

I'm preparing my CV for an internship (here is a link for my cv - Click). I'm concerned about these sentences: 1-Taking the course by Gedik University 2-Joined the Erasmus Student Exchange ...
14
votes
4answers
4k views

Can I use the F-word in a formal context? [closed]

I want to ask whether I can use the word "Fuck" in a formal context. Apparently, the word dates back to the early 16th century, so it shouldn't be considered slang (although, it is misused as slang ...
0
votes
1answer
68 views

“Make good use of it” synonyms

I am applying for a job and I will make real good use of the opportunity it will provide me. Could someone give me a good phrase for the following bold part of the sentence: I would really appreciate ...
6
votes
6answers
3k views

“I have strived” vs “I have striven”

In a college application essay, I am trying to write the sentence along the lines of: I have always strived to achieve my goals. Should I say strived or striven? According to this article at ...
1
vote
2answers
81 views

Is there any difference in politeness or formality between the following sentences?

Is there any difference in politeness or formality between the following sentences? Please can I borrow your pen? Can I please borrow your pen? Can I borrow your pen, please?
1
vote
2answers
81 views

What is the word or idiom for a system which is not well maintained and has become useless?

In Finnish we say rämettyä, where räme is a kind of swamp or marsh, so it literally means become a swamp. I guess that is understandable English, but it sounds quite informal. Especially, I am looking ...
-1
votes
1answer
75 views

“I shall” vs. “I will” in an e-mail to a superior [duplicate]

In an e-mail to a superior, should I write "I shall create a page", or "I will create a page"?
14
votes
6answers
3k views

Is there a case where “of the clock” is more appropriate then “o'clock”?

In formal papers, I've always been told to avoid contractions, but unlike "do not" versus "don't", I don't think that I have ever heard "of the clock" spoken aloud. Is there a case (aside from time ...
3
votes
1answer
140 views

Is there a formal way of referring to the Somebody Else's Problem field, as described in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy?

For those who have not read the book in question, a Somebody Else's Problem field is typically a problem that is so unbelievable that its easier to just ignore it rather than to address it. For ...
-1
votes
1answer
150 views

Grammaticality and formality of “When can I call you?” [closed]

When can I call you. ...does it make sense? Shall I use this for formal talk? Please help me as I have used the same sentence when I called HR. Need your input on this
-10
votes
2answers
269 views

Four-letter word riddle [closed]

A word has four letters, yet if you remove the first letter, the pronunciation doesn't change. What is the word?
7
votes
5answers
1k views

Serious word for 'a bad guy'

I was trying to raise awareness of XSS attacks on a website, by launching a harmless XSS attack and showing the follow message if users fell for it: IT WAS AN XSS ATTACK! HAD IT BEEN MADE BY ...
0
votes
1answer
336 views

What's the formal way to say “get to know”? [closed]

For example in the sentence "Hereby I express my pleasure ... you on behalf of ABC Company."
0
votes
2answers
74 views

“Take a break of unknown duration” in formal language

I would like to express the following idea in a more fashionable and eloquent manner: leave on a break of unknown duration / take a break... / leave on hiatus... Use of the highest linguistic ...
0
votes
2answers
141 views

Formal substituion of “along this line of thinking”? [closed]

I am writing a scientific paper, where I need to express "along this line of thinking". The scenario is Existing literature suggests that A is rather likely to cause B. Along this line of ...
0
votes
2answers
33 views

“Person with a trauma” or “person with trauma”

In academic writing, I frequently run across texts where the determiner is dropped when a person is described as having a medical condition or having suffered an injury. Moreover, a singular noun is ...
0
votes
2answers
91 views

“Right up one's alley?” Formal/in-formal?

Is "Right up my alley" formal enough to use in a cover letter/job application etc? If not, are there any alternative idioms? It sounded right to me and I was just about to use it in a formal ...
0
votes
2answers
287 views

“Looks like” in more formal way [closed]

I want to write It looks like I misunderstood Berta's explanation But in more formal way. Thanks
0
votes
1answer
275 views

What does this vulgar expression mean?

I found several mentions, only online, and have no idea what this means. But obviously people repeat this phrase, so they mean something particular. Here is one example: It is still morning here ...
1
vote
1answer
35 views

What is the origin of “sewn up”?

As in a guaranteed thing. For example, "Bill has twice the sales of anyone else on the floor so the sales competition is pretty well sewn up." I've tried to think of various metaphors it could be ...
0
votes
1answer
116 views

Saying “thank you” when something is taken from you, or when you take something from someone? [closed]

Often, when I am visiting some sort of community event where there is a large group of people, each person of the group may be given something to look at, or to reference to throughout the event. For ...
2
votes
1answer
77 views

Are there linguistic markers that indicate to subordinates a desire to be addressed less formally

It's a bit of a shame that Is "pal" too informal when the other person is much older than me? was closed, as it dabbles in a difficult topic for all non-native speakers of English. Although ...
0
votes
4answers
382 views

Can I write “Kindly let me know openly”, finishing a letter?

What I want to do is to ask politely for feedback - including feedback that might be left out because it has negative aspects. So I want to ask the addressee not to ignore or suppress problems because ...
18
votes
8answers
2k views

Is there a term for ascribing acts of the human mind to non-human objects, and when is it appropriate to do this?

Nota bene: English isn't my native language, so when I say acts of the human mind, I attempt to generalize things such as making assumptions, drawing conclusions and (to some extent) to reject. To me ...
8
votes
1answer
1k views

Is the word “dear” used as a word to show affection or for official use in India?

Quite a few times now, from my working with Indians, I've had most of them refer to me as "Dear". A common occurrence is when I am chatting on social media or speaking on the phone. Though where I ...
0
votes
0answers
12 views

Question on use that or not [duplicate]

It's a formal email to a client, My question is should I use with or without that to make it formal. This is to confirm that we are ready to purchase the items as discussed. This is to confirm, we ...
2
votes
2answers
87 views

When should I use “all in”?

I learned that "all in" is an informal way to say exhausted. Is it more common to say "I am exhausted" or to use "I am all in"?
1
vote
2answers
89 views

Replacement For “Drive Someone Nuts” [closed]

In the expression to drive someone nuts, I studied that it's possible to replace the word nuts with words like: bananas, crazy, insane, bonkers, ... I'd like to know is this expression polite? If it ...
8
votes
9answers
2k views

What quality does a person lack who cannot understand another's point of view?

I am looking for a non-slang, non-colloquial word - a word that I can use when speaking to a professional therapist/counselor, to be exact. Another way to ask this question might be "What quality ...
2
votes
2answers
228 views

How to use title in salutation, when recepient's name is unknown

I'm sending a formal letter to an adjudicator but do not know his or her name. What would be the most appropriate salutation? Dear Adjudicator: Dear adjudicator: Dear sir or madam: To whom it may ...
1
vote
4answers
223 views

More formal alternative for “get a handle on sth.”

In a text I am writing (paper in the sciences), I find I would like to use the phrase “In order to get a handle on this problem, …”, but it seems a little informal. The intended meaning is “gain a ...
-1
votes
2answers
37 views

Cite authors or inform the reader that these guys made it?

I writing a research paper in which I want to say that Paul Viola and Michael Jones (authors behind a framework) made this framework. What is the more formal way of saying this?
3
votes
10answers
2k views

More formal synonym of “bullshit artist”?

I need more formal ways to express three related terms: bullshit artist, BS-ing, and the art of BS-ing. Edit -- providing some context: The type of BS I need to talk about is the kind that ...