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

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2
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3answers
797 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
399 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 ...
0
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1answer
1k views

Three formal ways to express “we got very good comments”

A question from a non-native speaker: For some reason I have to find at least three different formal ways to express "we got very good comments". The context is like "our paper got published and the ...
0
votes
3answers
1k views

I've finished my studies and currently looking for a job?

I'm writing my first CV (resume) before applying for some jobs. Is the following sentence grammatically correct? I've finished my studies and currently looking for a job
0
votes
1answer
108 views

Single word for “always new requirements”

Is there any word to express "always new needs emerge"? Can renewable be sufficient for this? The context is something like "cannot satisfy the endless renewable needs", in an academic article.
0
votes
1answer
139 views

The grammar restriction of dash and parentheses

This is a follow-up to my previous question. The answerer mentioned that when parentheses are used for inserting contents in a sentence, the grammar flexibility is assumed to be higher. If that is ...
1
vote
2answers
174 views

Mixed Conditionals

This question is about conditionals If I had money, I would give it you conditional 2 (present tense) If I had money, I would have given it to you conditional 3 (Past tense) But I've ...
1
vote
1answer
82 views

Usage of “odyssey” and “splendid”

I started my odyssey on the splendid world of mathematics when... Is this a right way to use the word "odyssey"? Is "odyssey on sth." correct? Can I use "splendid" to describe the world of ...
1
vote
1answer
2k views

Usage of “though” in formal writing

Consider the following text: "It is a bicycle. How do we know it is a bicycle, though?". Would this be a reasonable use of though in formal writing (in an essay)? What are the ways of avoiding this ...
1
vote
1answer
265 views

Which valediction should I use with my boss?

I work as a freelancer for a company and I do most of my communication via e-mails. My boss usually ends his mails with "cheers" whereas I always use "regards". Are there any alternatives to ...
3
votes
6answers
2k views

Usage of “ladies and gentlemen” to address two people of diiferent sex

It seems to be not quite logical to use the traditional address "ladies and gentlemen" when there are only a single lady and a single gentleman in the room, not counting for the person who is ...
0
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2answers
94 views

Usage of “convivial”

Is "convivial" a formal and uncommon word? Can I say "a convivial community"?
2
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6answers
4k views

Is there a more formal option for 'just in case'?

It was addressed before, but the question was too specific, thus doesn't resolve my issue. I'm expecting a general answer, though provide an example as well. For instance, I'm writing a letter and ...
3
votes
3answers
3k views

Usage of 'Hi' and 'Dear' in Formal Communication

I always hesitate using 'Hi' in formal mails. Is it OK to use it like "Hi Sir,..."? Same with 'Dear Junior,...'. Any help would be appreciated.
1
vote
2answers
223 views

Data as a plural noun [duplicate]

In an academic writing, is it correct to make reference to "the data itself", being that data is a plural noun and itself is a singular pronoun?
1
vote
3answers
167 views

How to semi-formally address a senior academic? [closed]

What is a proper way to address a person with the title of a Professor in a way which is less formal than "Dear Professor", but still conveys some respect? For example, suppose I am talking to ...
3
votes
4answers
1k views

Is “am” ever proper English without an “I” somewhere before or after it? [duplicate]

For a long time, I have been convinced that the use of the word am without the word I either before or after it is incorrect. For instance, saying Am going all by itself. However, I recently ran a ...
0
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the correct use of commas when using the word “attached” [closed]

What is the correct comma use in the following sentence? Per our earlier conversation, attached, please find the document.
1
vote
2answers
3k views

Use “you” or “one” in formal writing?

Sometimes people tell me that I should avoid using "you" in formal writing and insist on telling me to use "one" ("One should not use 'you'" as opposed to "You should not use 'you'"). Are there any ...
0
votes
1answer
4k views

“…that I have not got”, vs. “gotten”? [duplicate]

In such a context as... I have never applied to job that I cannot do, nor to one that I have not gotten. vs. I have never applied to job that I cannot do, nor to one that I have not got. ...
2
votes
3answers
18k views

How do you abbreviate “Government”?

As far as I can tell there are eight ways to abbreviate or write the contracted form "government". gov or Gov gov. or Gov. gov't or Gov't govt. or Govt. (with the full stop/period) Are any of ...
2
votes
2answers
9k views

“Make sure to” vs. “Be sure to”: Is the first one correct?

These two versions below are used interchangeably where I live now in the United States: Make sure to do something. Be sure to do something. But I always have found the first version clumsy. I ...
10
votes
8answers
19k views

“have” vs.“have got” in American and British English

I have looked through several questions and answers on EL&U, and often there is an indication that American English prefers "have" while British English prefers "have got". In addition, there are ...
0
votes
1answer
273 views

When writing a formal report is it bad to make up names when giving an example?

I was giving an example and was trying to immerse the reader in the experience as much as possible and made up a man's name. Consider the following example: Joseph is testing a program built for ...
1
vote
3answers
176 views

Preposition to choose when referring to something from a book

Which would be better to say? He reminds me of Dill from To Kill a Mockingbird. He reminds me of Dill in To Kill a Mockingbird. He reminds me of Dill of To Kill a Mockingbird. Also, ...
2
votes
3answers
5k views

Is the expression “having a good time” too personal?

Me and a colleague were jointly writing an email to an English speaking business partner when a discussion arose on how to formulate a sentence. The business partner is currently on vacation, so I ...
1
vote
0answers
5k views

Using first names with the titles Mr. and Mrs [closed]

It is proper to use the first names with Mr. & Mrs.? For example, in the invitation of an anniversary party, can one say the following: Celebrate the anniversaryof Mr. and Mrs. James and ...
0
votes
2answers
91 views

Can closings be made up or must one of the common ones be used?

There are common closings such as "respectfully", "Best Regards", "Yours truly" etc. but if you have reason to make your own is that allowed or is it more of a formality that is set in stone to used a ...
3
votes
2answers
150 views

How to correctly refer to animal parts as food?

I have found little consistent in how animal parts used as food are named. How can I correctly refer to the tongue of ducks, the necks of ducks, or the ears of pigs? Do you like duck's neck? ...
4
votes
3answers
245 views

Is “maker” less professional than “manufacturer”?

To me as a non-native, maker sounds much less professional than manufacturer or supplier. I.e. an average "piston maker" would probably be much smaller than an average "piston manufacturer" or "piston ...
-2
votes
1answer
476 views

Em dash or colon in formal writing

In formal writing, should I use an em dash The Earth consists of three layers — crust, mantle, and core. or a colon The Earth consists of three layers: crust, mantle, and core. ?
1
vote
3answers
1k views

Salutation for job application [duplicate]

I don't the know the exact receiver for the job.I don't even know the company's name because i found the job position online.I only know the email.How should i start the letter? I read that for that ...
0
votes
0answers
40 views

Should I refer to “one” as “him/her/them”, when the subject is not specified? [duplicate]

I'm writing a formal document, translating it to English, and I need to now how to say this sentence properly: " It allows one to have a voice and endows them with a power that was (...)" I used ...
-1
votes
1answer
608 views

A formal phrasal verb for “continue to stick to their belief”

How do I rewrite the following sentence so it is more formal, using a phrasal verb in place of the part in bold? Despite mounting evidence, they continue to stick to their belief.
3
votes
3answers
5k views

How to reply to a status update for a job application?

I received an email today telling me that I will be notified about next steps for my job application by mid next week. I want to be polite and respond something brief, but since I'm not a native ...
1
vote
2answers
577 views

Comma usage in a letter opening [duplicate]

My colleague and I disagree on how to open a letter; he believes you should separate the salutation from the name, like so: "Hi, John" I think this is nonsense and that the comma should go at the ...
2
votes
1answer
824 views

“To go so far as to” — suitable for academic writing?

Is using the phrase "to go so far as to" in an academic context (e.g. in an article in humanities journal) acceptable? New Example: I do not know why Mister X went so far as to assert that Mister ...
0
votes
1answer
151 views

Differences with placement of 'please'

Please, can you give me a cup of water? Can you give me a cup of water, please? Can you please give me a cup of water? What's the difference in the above? They seem similar to be, but subtle ...
0
votes
2answers
1k views

Why are contractions considered unprofessional?

I've heard people specify not to use contractions in order to maintain a degree of professionalism. I've heard this mentioned by fellow students while in school as well. I've never heard this with ...
0
votes
0answers
49 views

Which form of address in motivation letter? [duplicate]

I am writing a motivation letter for a university in London, and I wanted to know which form of address is common? Dear Sir or Madam To whom it may concern Thanks in advance.
-1
votes
1answer
1k views

In formal writing, is there any difference between “couple” and “some”?

For example in a résumé, are Experience in a couple of rendering tools and Experience in some rendering tools the same from the point of view of formality?
0
votes
1answer
366 views

Usage of “by the way” in an essay [closed]

Can I use the phrase "by the way" in a formal essay? The essay is almost a tech paper (not an article — rather a university paper). Is that literary language or slang?
-2
votes
1answer
2k views

Height and weight written out

In formal writing I like to do this (in British style): The infant weighed 10lb 5oz; a 10lb 5oz infant He was 6ft 3in tall; a 6ft 3in man My question is about the plural usage: do we ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

Is it “falsy” or “falsey”?

I have seen both versions of the word, falsy and falsey. It can mean "something that is equivalent to false" in computer science, such as "The only two falsy values in the Ruby Language are false and ...
0
votes
1answer
1k views

“At step” or “in step”

When I searched I found many usages of both "in step" and "at step". For example, Google returns: "at each step" — about 55,000,000 results "in each step" — about 45,000,000 results But which one ...
0
votes
0answers
44 views

When to use “programming's” vs. “programming is” [duplicate]

My sentence can be said as: Programming is fun. and it can also be said as: Programming's fun. Both seem to be correct. When should I use one instead of the other?
0
votes
1answer
155 views

What is the most appropriate for formal usage “a day/per day/daily”?

I was thinking which of these three possibilities is the most appropriate for a formal letter? E.g. when an employer want to say to his employee: 1) "You need to respond to at least 100 messages a ...
-1
votes
2answers
227 views

“You gotta love xyz”: What is the formal version? [closed]

"You gotta love xyz" is an often a sarcastic (and colloquial) way of pointing out a preference/like for something. Is there a more formal way to express similar sarcasm when describing a ...
1
vote
1answer
404 views

What do “truxtop” and “thumb tax” mean? [closed]

What do truxtop and thumb tax mean? I found them mentioned in this quotation from English Words History and Structure, 2nd edition (p. 113): The replacement of the sequence [ks] by x is a ...