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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (2)

2
votes
5answers
125 views

What's a more formal equivalent to “seriously out of line”?

What is a more formal equivalent to "seriously out of line"? In the particular case I'm looking for, I've been advised that what I'm referring to is seriously out of line legally, but the question is ...
0
votes
1answer
208 views

Can I say, “the article claimed”, “the focus of the article is”, etc.?

I once went to a writing centre at a community college and asked if it's more correct to write the article explains... or the author explains.... The instructor replied that the latter was preferable, ...
-1
votes
1answer
89 views

“tabloid” or “tabloid newpsaper”?

Is it considered informal to refer to tabloid and broadsheet newspapers as a "tabloid" and "broadsheet", as opposed to "tabloid newspaper" and "broadsheet newspaper"? I'm writing a piece in the style ...
0
votes
3answers
259 views

A better way to phrase this? [closed]

I had an email forwarded to me and one of the sentences in it sounded kind of wrong...: "It would be helpful if you can send me the agenda as 10am-3pm is quite a huge block of time for the students." ...
0
votes
1answer
2k views

App or app? When I refer to it in a formal paper

In Android contexts, should the 'a' in 'app' be uppercase always or lowercase?
1
vote
2answers
256 views

Polite request regarding availability

How do I ask if a person is available and to inform me, in a polite way?
1
vote
2answers
78 views

Formal term for upper level health workers

What is the formal term for upper level healthcare workers? By "upper level" I mean Medical Doctors and pharmacists; basically the ones that must have a university degree to perform the duties. I'm ...
5
votes
5answers
14k views

“Much obliged” — Old-fashioned? Polite? Pedantic?

I've heard someone say "Much obliged!" a couple of times, instead of the usual "Thank you!". A common phrase in Portuguese ("Muito Obrigado") and maybe other languages, but certainly unusual in ...
2
votes
1answer
753 views

When Americans say someone has ''no accent'', what do they mean exactly? [duplicate]

As in my title question. Do they mean a specific region of the US, something else?
0
votes
1answer
134 views

Academic writing: “one's”

Is it allowed to use the word "one's" in academic writing? For example: It can help improve one's vocabulary.
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Formal way to describe sexual acts

I'm writing a statement of events that happened between me and my ex. It needs to be written formally but I don't how to write the following words in that way: "blowjob" and "eating her out." Thanks ...
1
vote
4answers
236 views

“Would you mind and do something” in nonstandard colloquial AE

Just curious, does "Would you mind and do something" instead of "Would you mind doing something" sound acceptable in spoken AE, or is it an attempt to imitate or render colloquial speech in not so ...
1
vote
2answers
143 views

Why is “yeah” considered unprofessional?

I have read in many places on the Internet that "yeah" is considered unprofessional. And that using "yes" is preferred and considered more formal. What is the reason behind it?
3
votes
4answers
5k views

Which is correct: “I’m done” or “I have finished”?

Which of these alternatives is grammatically correct? I’m done. or I have finished Like I’m done sounds very American, but is it grammatically correct?
0
votes
1answer
212 views

How to say “I vaunt a broad knowledge of the subject” without bragging?

How can I say "I vaunt a broad knowledge and understanding of the subject" without sounding too arrogant? The verb to vaunt implies bragging, in my humble opinion.
2
votes
2answers
2k views

“Thus” vs. “so” in formal English

Currently there are about 4000 international students from 110 different nations across the world, thus/so the university offers perfect conditions for socializing and making new friends. Is this ...
-3
votes
2answers
232 views

“Can I” vs “May I” [duplicate]

You may have heard the argument "it's not can I go to the bathroom, it's may I." If this is true, then any question such as "can you get me a glass of water?" could have the same argument applied to ...
0
votes
4answers
4k views

Is there a formal way to say we want to go to the toilet? [closed]

I've heard: "I've to go the potty", "I have to meet Mr John", "Nature is calling me, I have to go", "I've to go to the rest room". These sentences aren't formal, are they? Is there any other way ...
3
votes
1answer
188 views

Does this sentence have too many subjunctives?

Does this sentence have too many subjunctives? If it please the king, let it be decreed that they be destroyed, and I will pay 10,000 talents of silver into the hands of those who have charge ...
0
votes
1answer
577 views

Is asking “come again?” to a complete stranger over the phone rude?

My Irish colleague told me that when talking to a customer over the phone asking:"come again?" is considered rude and even offensive since it is very informal and almost demanding. Now I did not ...
0
votes
1answer
118 views

How to Make Up Comebacks when Somebody Calls You?

I heard when I called somebody they answered "You" or "Yo" . . Which one is correct? and what does it mean?
4
votes
5answers
636 views

Why aren't there any common words for 'defecating' and 'urinating'?

Besides 'poo(p)ing' and 'peeing/weeing' used by and to children, besides 'shitting/crapping' and 'pissing' which are spoken, not polite, says the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, besides ...
0
votes
1answer
125 views

When did the conjunction “for” become old-fashioned?

I am not going to school today, for I am sick. When did "for" become old-fashioned? Is it still used in everyday conversation?
2
votes
1answer
5k views

Any difference between “Sorry I'm late!” and “Sorry for being late!”?

Is one of these sentences used more than the other? (I'm) sorry I'm late. (I'm) sorry for being late. Or is one more formal than the other?
0
votes
3answers
132 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
votes
4answers
2k 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
votes
1answer
857 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
votes
3answers
245 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
vote
1answer
214 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
vote
2answers
179 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
votes
1answer
885 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 ...
66
votes
18answers
27k 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 ...
-1
votes
4answers
417 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 brother, ...
3
votes
3answers
633 views

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

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 ...
3
votes
4answers
683 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
2k 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
votes
1answer
939 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
votes
0answers
45 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
vote
1answer
329 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
1k 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
2k 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
votes
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 ...
0
votes
3answers
306 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
447 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
335 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
vote
1answer
775 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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
270 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
755 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
384 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
1k 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 ...