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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (2)

1
vote
2answers
438 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 ...
5
votes
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 ...
11
votes
1answer
974 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
votes
1answer
929 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
vote
1answer
191 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
vote
1answer
148 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
votes
3answers
479 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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
373 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" ...
0
votes
5answers
200 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
votes
1answer
267 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 ...
0
votes
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)
5
votes
3answers
714 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?
-1
votes
2answers
182 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
115 views

“Between” Two Locations

I am typing up formal invitations, and I want to say that transportation will be provided from Point A to Point B (but also from Point B back to Point A). In order to clear up the to-from/from-to ...
2
votes
1answer
121 views

Which of “press” or “depress” the enter key is the more correct choice? [duplicate]

I’m reading a manual right now instructing one to “press” the enter key. However, both press and depress appear to be correct, as explained in the question Why is the term "depressed" often ...
2
votes
1answer
268 views

How to best convey excitement for the next assignment, quarter, or project? [closed]

I’ve just received feedback on my work during the second quarter of the year (Q2) from my manager. I would like to reply to this feedback and end my reply with a sentence along the lines of" ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

Saying “programming” vs “coding” [duplicate]

I've always thought that "programming" sounded more professional opposed to "coding". But after looking at the words more closely I'm not entirely sure they mean the same thing. But even if they do ...
2
votes
2answers
129 views

Is “shall” an appropriate word for a scientific thesis? [closed]

May I use the word shall in my scientific thesis? As in The relevant ones shall be introduced in the following. Or is shall considered slang or outdated?
0
votes
1answer
194 views

Is it appropriate to use “it's my bread and butter” in formal english?

I am preparing for an English language test. That is why I am working on strengthening my English vocabulary. My question is regarding the speaking section of the test. If the examiner asks me about ...
-1
votes
2answers
236 views

Concurrently with or Sequentially To/Sequentially With?

Drug A is administered concurrently with or sequentially to Drug B. I want to say in a formal manner that Drug A and Drug B are administered either at the same time or at different times, but I ...
0
votes
1answer
115 views

how to tell if you fall down your head will *** the floor?

how to say in the below scenario... if you fall down in the floor, your head will _ _ _ _ _ _ in the floor. the blank should talk about the crashing of head with the floor. What is the correct ...
0
votes
3answers
446 views

What is the correct way to respond to sender with full name

I recently received an email I need to respond to, but I am unsure of the correct way to address the sender. Dear Mr Sayse, [ . . . email body . . . ] Regards Joe Bloggs Is it ...
1
vote
2answers
836 views

What can replace “consists of”?

For reasons I cannot explain, I hate the phrase consists of. Does anyone have an alternative? An example is: Testing consists of continual operation, alternating between random writes and random ...
0
votes
1answer
166 views

Informal language: “you guy’s” vs. “your guy’s” [duplicate]

You guys and Your guys are somewhat informal in English language. Typical example usages: Do you guys want to come around to watch movies tomorrow night? Is addressing a party of more than ...
4
votes
3answers
452 views

A formal word for 'disemvowel'

According to Collins English Dictionary, disemvowel is a transitive verb meaning 'to remove the vowels from (a word in a text message, email, etc.) in order to abbreviate it'. Since the ...
1
vote
1answer
70 views

Use of “nay” - still current?

I get the sense that the interjection nay is seen as outdated and used only for humorous effect. Is this assumption true, or is it still acceptable in serious writing?
1
vote
2answers
903 views

Is it okay to use “Sure thing” as a reply to my boss?

I was wondering whether sure thing — when I mean certainly — is too casual in a business environment, or whether it could be used under certain circumstances. (I’m not a native speaker of English.)
0
votes
3answers
494 views

Professional ways of saying “to know something”

Usually, in our CV or resume, we will say that "I know this, I know that, blah blah". I think the verb "to know" is not formal enough in such situation. Is there a better way to say you know ...
2
votes
1answer
86 views

marketing style of fairness products [closed]

If you have seen any ad of fairness related products, most of them show women who are disadvantaged by their complexion. Say, they show she isn't selected for a job interview because she isn't "fair" ...
2
votes
2answers
103 views

What do you call a subordinate clause that follows its main clause but is wrongly punctuated as a separate sentence?

“This compelled the chancellor to shut down the whole program. Which was an outcome no one really wanted.” I suspect that what underlies this error is the sense that in spoken English a substantial ...
1
vote
2answers
22k views

What would be your reply if someone asks you, “How do you do?” [duplicate]

What would be your reply, if someone asks you How do you do?
6
votes
5answers
949 views

How to write a proper research paper with the use of pronouns referring to myself?

I am writing a research paper or report that is based on the development of my own product. Traditionally, the University I study in recommends that a research paper or report must be written by ...
7
votes
12answers
12k views

Is there a word for “without any reason” but a more formal one

A sample sentence would be: Why did you ban me without providing a reason? Is there a single word to replace "without providing a reason" with? Indiscriminately is not an option for me.
2
votes
2answers
8k views

Formal personal introduction to a letter

I've received an e-mail of a colleague that I meet once. He wrote as introduction, "I hope you're doing well" and then he continued directly with the matter of the mail. I would like to use some ...
0
votes
3answers
77 views

What do I call a date by which document have force?

I am writing technical documentation and I can guarantee, that it is in up-to-date status at the date I write it (or update it). How do I call this date in one or two words?
1
vote
3answers
3k views

What is the formal way to say “a bit”?

What is the formal way to say a bit in an essay, for example, in the sentence beginning “It is a bit different from”? Is a little formal enough?
1
vote
1answer
290 views

“I feel it my duty” vs. “I feel it *IS* my duty” [duplicate]

Given these two choices: I feel it     my duty to [do something]. I feel it is my duty to [do something]. Which is preferred, and why? Background: I got confused when reading an article in The ...
6
votes
6answers
711 views

Do you “create” a hypothesis?

What is the most appropriate verb when talking about making a new hypothesis? E.g. Lenneburg created the critical period hypothesis. Lenneburg coined the critical period hypothesis. ...
3
votes
3answers
96 views

Is this correct: “[x] is where [explanation]”

When explaining a concept, for example, recursion, is it valid to use a construction such as: Recursion is where a subroutine calls itself. To my ear, "is where" sounds somewhat weird. Do you ...
0
votes
2answers
97 views

Can “lackadaisical” be used in literature?

Has lackadaisical ever been used in literary works? My Oxford Dictionary of Quotations has no quotation that includes this word. Who first used lackadaisical in the 1760s as the OED claims?
0
votes
2answers
208 views

In/With regard to are informal?

Her Ladyship's Guide to the Queen's English by Caroline Taggart suggests that all the forms in regard be informal Are you in accord with her ? I use it in my future article and wish to be formal. ...
-1
votes
1answer
144 views

American Novels in Colloquial Language [closed]

I would like to know the names of novels that uses a lot of American colloquial expressions and idioms and it would be great if the novel portrays the exact way people talk in normal circumstances. ...
5
votes
3answers
610 views

Formal alternative for “dos and don'ts”

I want to write "dos and don'ts", or an equivalent expression, in a university essay. I am assuming that it is not very academic to write "dos and don'ts", so does anyone have a better way of putting ...
0
votes
3answers
357 views

Is it correct to write “…, so…”? Is it formal to use “so” in writing?

Is it correct to write "..., so..."? e.g. You are handsome, so you are appreciated. Is it correct to use "so" in formal writing? If not, what are the alternatives?
0
votes
2answers
109 views

“the below-identified person”: Term for this style and any style guides regarding

Are there any technical terms to specifically describe the two styles (A and B) below? Also, are there any prescriptive style guides that say which is preferable? My own preference is for style B ...
-1
votes
1answer
97 views

Past perfect vs. simple past

What verb tense must I use in the following sentences? I'm describing my work experience in casual speech. I had been working at Apple for five years. [I imply that I worked there in the past] ...
3
votes
7answers
220 views

Software bug formal usage

Is it appropriate to use terms "software bug" and/or just "bug" in formal report? What else could be used instead? Defect?
1
vote
3answers
191 views

A more formal alternative for “go with” in the context of food or literature

... or the literature on food. I need a verb for associating things that go particularly well together. Possibly with a wine or French lineage. It is not pairing. Other ideas thrown out are go with ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Formal word for 'emit anal air'?

Is there a formal single word for 'emit anal air'? I've heard 'eructate' being used, but this means air from the mouth only; not from the other end.
1
vote
1answer
1k views

Greetings after initial email

In a formal / professional email (i.e. emails directed at potential employers, co-workers and administrators), is it okay to exclude the greeting after the first email? For example, I will send an ...