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

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1answer
78 views

Acceptability of Gonna, Wanna [closed]

How acceptable is it to use wanna, gonna, etc in business or more formal US environments?
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4answers
205 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 ...
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3answers
221 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 _______.
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1answer
154 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 ...
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4answers
90 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
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1answer
180 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
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1answer
42 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
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2answers
906 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 ....."
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2answers
234 views

Thanks. You got it

Can "You got it, dude " be used as a reply to "thank you" in informal English?
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3answers
326 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 ...
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2answers
101 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. ...
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1answer
73 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 ...
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2answers
94 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 ...
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2answers
650 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 ...
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4answers
803 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 ...
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2answers
3k 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
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1answer
89 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
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1answer
75 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 ...
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14answers
10k 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 ...
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0answers
73 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.
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4answers
227 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
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3answers
134 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." ...
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2answers
152 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 ...
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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 ...
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4answers
134 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 ...
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2answers
102 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 ...
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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
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1answer
209 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 ...
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1answer
58 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 ...
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1answer
268 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 ...
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2answers
378 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 ...
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0answers
329 views

Is the term “gone from [X] to [Y]” academically acceptable? [on hold]

Is the phrase "gone from [X] to [Y]" academically acceptable? If not, what alternatives are there to state the same thing in a more precise manner?
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1answer
509 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 ...
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1answer
40 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
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2answers
2k 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
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0answers
65 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 ...
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0answers
7 views

Name of formal form of address [duplicate]

In some languages, such as Italian, when addressing someone who is senior to you or at a higher level with respect to some social hierarchy, it is customary not to use the second-person singular ...
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2answers
374 views

What's a formal/proper way of saying “the exact opposite”? [closed]

I am writing a mock memo for a university assignment, addressed to a current professor. Thus, the general tone and genre of the letter is definitely formal. I am trying to say the following: (The ...
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4answers
1k views

Why do some questions not start with an auxiliary verb?

When I learned English, my teachers told me that all questions must have an auxiliary verb at the beginning, just like Are you mad? or Is she playing? do. But when watching some movies or talking ...
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1answer
788 views

When did “ain't” become slang?

In Anthony Trollope's The Way We Live Now, there are several places where "ain't" is used instead of "am not", such as: "I ain't afraid of him, if you mean that," continued Lord Nidderdale. — ...
2
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1answer
681 views

What should we call our elder cousin's wife? [closed]

We don’t call our cousins cousin Somebody the way we do with uncles and aunts; we just refer to them by their given name directly. But sometimes we cannot use their name to address them, such as if ...
1
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1answer
173 views

Informal Vocabulary - 'Mank you'

I understand the character is being sarcastic but I don't understand why exactly he says 'mank you'. I looked up the word 'mank' and it doesn't make sense in the context so I suppose 'mank you' is ...
1
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1answer
129 views

“who” or “whom” as a relative pronoun - not always so easy [duplicate]

I take it for granted we all know when to use the relative pronouns "who" and "whom". And we also know that since the early nineteenth century there has been a steady decline in the use of "whom" ...
3
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3answers
376 views

Difference between “bunch of” and “group of” with regard to people

What are the contexts for using a bunch and a group when describing a handful of people? Please take both spoken and written English into account. For example, when is it more appropriate to use "a ...
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votes
1answer
298 views

What does “Yeah, you did” mean?

This has been a question since I watched the episode Ted Mosby, Architect [HIMYM, Season 2] long time back. Yesterday I came across this again and I still don't get it. What does "Yeah, you did" ...
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5answers
187 views

Formal word for “gotten made”

Is there a formal term for "gotten made" or "gotten synthesized"? To be more clear lets assume that I have a design for a special chair; I ask the carpenter to fix it for me because I don't have the ...
0
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1answer
233 views

Can we use “bad” as an adverb in writing and formal speech? [duplicate]

Should a lecturer say "He felt bad" or "He felt badly"? "His tooth ached so bad he couldn't sleep" or "His tooth ached so badly he couldn't sleep"? Are both forms acceptable in formal ...
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0answers
87 views

Is it polite to say 'thank you guys' if both genders were involved? [duplicate]

Related: Is "guy" gender-neutral? Discussion about more formal version: http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=1620575 Thank you (thank you guys)
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3answers
562 views

Is addressing a guy as “guy” rude?

Non-native here, is addressing a guy as just "guy" considered rude? Like, while addressing a pet-store clerk: "Hey, guy, how many mice will $13 buy?" Also, how long has it been in use?
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2answers
168 views

Do these sentences make sense? [closed]

Notwithstanding the argument, I would still consider you as a friend. I was exhausted, notwithstanding I stayed up for another two hours. Maybe too formal to use in everyday writing as a word for ...