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

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3answers
2k 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
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1answer
210 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
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6answers
605 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
90 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 ...
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2answers
81 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?
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2answers
137 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. ...
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1answer
112 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
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3answers
376 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
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3answers
132 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?
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2answers
87 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 ...
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votes
1answer
85 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
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7answers
176 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?
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3answers
160 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
916 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
871 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
596 views

“When it comes to doing something” Are there alternatives?

Do you think "When it comes to" is a formal or informal expression? I want to use this in the TOEFL writing paper.
0
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3answers
488 views

A more formal way of saying “pointing out”

The goal of an edge detection algorithm is identifying pixels that belong to an edge of an object in an image ... The rest of the sentence should say something along the lines of "and point ...
0
votes
1answer
73 views

How do you say “ I do not know why it is so” in an academic way?

The situation is, I'm comlaining about the problem concerning submitting important documents via Internet because it seems like that document was not properly submitted. However, I don't know if it ...
0
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1answer
328 views

Are “kinda”, “sorta”, “oughta” and “sposta” acceptable in formal writing?

I get that sorta, kinda, sorta-kinda (this one I quite like though) oughta and sposta imitate speech but it still annoys me to find them "in print", especially when the overall tone is formal. ...
0
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2answers
2k views

Can we use “likewise” instead of “also” in formal writing?

When we write academic paper, can we use "also"? If it is a bit informal, is it ok to use "likewise" instead of "also"? Or, are there any possible expression in such situation?
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4answers
105 views

How to say formally 'once he paid off all the debt' [closed]

I am translating an article of association from Japanese to English. I am stuck at a sentence which means: His membership shall be terminated once he paid off all his debt from the Association, if he ...
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votes
1answer
86 views

“The meaning of this word” vs. “The meaning to this word” [closed]

Occasionally I observed that some native speakers will use preferably the construction "the meaning to (a word, phrase, etc.)" whereas others will go for the more common grammatical turn "the meaning ...
1
vote
2answers
173 views

Is the word “gig” formal?

I'd like to know whether the word gig (temporary job) is formal or colloquial. Always that I've read it, it has been in forums. I have never heard it or read it somewhere else, just in forums, which ...
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votes
4answers
212 views

Adjectival “Anglican” for “English”, and “Anglicanism” for “Anglomania” in AmE

Harrap's New Shorter French and English Dictionary, Ed. 1985 [Harrap's Shorter French Dictionary], points up adjectival "Anglican" as an Americanism for "English", and "Anglicanism" as an AmE ...
2
votes
5answers
832 views

How to say “I don't believe you” in a more academic way?

How to say "I don't believe you" in a more academic way? I need to say it to my teacher and I do not know how to say it, not to make her mad...
0
votes
1answer
46 views

“To take in” and “to catch” in the sense "to attend and visit (or see) [the sights of (a city, etc.)] in AmE

Do these terms share the same degree of informality in the sense "to attend and visit (or see)" as of someone taking in/catching the sights of a place, or taking in/catching a show or a movie? E.g. ...
3
votes
4answers
343 views

Is “has made it his business to” polite or impolite?

In this sentence: He has made it his business to reintroduce the theory to a new generation of activists. Is "has made it his business to" an impolite expression? Is it a radical expression? ...
1
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1answer
62 views

“To charge (that…)” for “to claim/to assert” in AmE

While browsing my bilingual dictionary, Ed. 1985, I stumbled upon the verb "to charge" in a meaning defined as an Americanism [3(b) U.S.: to charge that... alléguer que...(to assert that)] without any ...
1
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1answer
3k views

Can I address someone in an email with their first name if they sign with their first name?

I'm planning to do an internship and I usually address my supervisor as Mr. X, however, he signs his emails with his first name is that means I can address him with his first name ? Note: I haven't ...
3
votes
1answer
503 views

“In back of'' vs. ”back of“ vs. the spatial sense of ”behind" in AmE

What's the difference to these expressions, as in "The little girl was hiding in back of the tree" vs. "The little girl was hiding back of the tree" vs. "The little girl was hiding behind the tree"? ...
0
votes
2answers
866 views

Polite way to inform that there is no need to reply (business language) [closed]

I am often requesting my colleges via email to update a status of a case they work on. The update (note) should be provided in application they work on which is also explained in my request. There is ...
12
votes
5answers
6k views

the USA vs the US

I am writing an essay where I need to make a reference to the United States of America. Often I hear this shortened to the US, but sometimes people also say the USA. Are there any difference between ...
0
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2answers
2k views

“Latch onto [something/someone]” for “obtain, get (hold of) [something/someone]” in AE

I just rediscovered the colloquial expression "latch on to [something]" online and would like to know the story to its meaning of "obtain, get", which is presented by CD as AE and CE. ...
1
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0answers
17 views

“Who” usage in interrogative form [duplicate]

When using "who" in a question, which is correct: Is it I who has erred? Is it I who have erred? The latter seems correct by test (take out who), but the former seems correct by question form ...
0
votes
1answer
429 views

When to use “me and my __” and “my __ and me”? [duplicate]

When is it correct to use, for example "me and my wife" and "my wife and me", which is correct and what's the difference?
4
votes
1answer
75 views

When can you omit the possessive on an honorific?

I was considering honorifics and I realized that sometimes we include and sometimes we omit a possessive in front of them. I was wondering if there was a formal rule for such? For example: Your ...
0
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2answers
9k views

When should we say 'Thanks' and when, 'Thank you'? [closed]

While I'm communicating with my colleagues and clients, I used to say 'Thanks' and 'Thank you'. I normally use 'Thank you' when I want to express it to a single person usually through e-mails, ...
3
votes
5answers
560 views

Is there a formal phrase for saying that the location of an event changes between two places?

The context of my question is the following. I am involved in organization of a conference which is held every year but in two different places (every second year in each of them). What is the best ...
4
votes
2answers
489 views

Alas, is it informal or formal? Can it be used in formal writing?

Question title is enough. Can I use alas in formal writing , especially in scientific writing? I do not remember seeing it a lot in scientific articles but dictionary references does not say anything ...
2
votes
5answers
142 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
407 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, ...
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1answer
123 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
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3answers
322 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
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1answer
3k 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
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2answers
334 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
88 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
23k 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
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1answer
1k 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
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1answer
200 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
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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 ...