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

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2answers
204 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 ...
-5
votes
4answers
222 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
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5answers
1k 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
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1answer
48 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
388 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
73 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
4k 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
668 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
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2answers
1k 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 ...
14
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5answers
9k 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
502 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
91 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 ...
1
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2answers
14k 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
674 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
615 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
153 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
668 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
150 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
400 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." ...
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1answer
4k 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
379 views

Polite request regarding availability

How do I ask if a person is available and to inform me, in a polite way?
1
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2answers
90 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
29k 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
250 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 ...
1
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4answers
273 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
251 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?
4
votes
4answers
8k 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
500 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.
4
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2answers
5k 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 ...
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2answers
345 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
9k 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
232 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
840 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 ...
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1answer
169 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
1k 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
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1answer
146 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
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1answer
12k 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
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3answers
209 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 ...
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4answers
4k 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) ...
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1answer
2k 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
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3answers
394 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
337 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
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2answers
282 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
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1answer
2k 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 ...
70
votes
18answers
33k 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
727 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, ...