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

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2answers
434 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
544 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
124 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
692 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
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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
900 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
300 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
1k 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
896 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
142 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
205 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
361 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 ...
47
votes
14answers
11k views

When to use “nude” and when “naked”

The question is quite clear. Is there any difference (semantically or connotationally, if that's a word) between nude and naked? Nude seems more formal to me, but I'm not quite sure. Interesting: ...
1
vote
1answer
9k views

“so long as” vs. “as long as”

I just googled the difference between as long as and so long as. The difference has alredy been discussed here. There are, it seems, two contexts for these expressions: lengths and physical ...
-2
votes
2answers
167 views

Is there a formal version of “he's the real thing”? [closed]

Is there a formal version of "he's the real thing"? As in: Man, she's really good at tennis! She plays national. She's the real thing.
0
votes
1answer
406 views

'Evening' and 'morning' in use as greetings [closed]

This is more a historical question than one on the usages themselves. I'm interested in the history of the truncated forms of "Good morning" and "Good evening..." specifically, when people started ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

What is the correct way to construct a conditional sentence with “would”?

I was told several times that a conditional sentence with the following structure is incorrect: If I would do this, then he would do that. Rather it should be: If I do this, then he will do ...
-1
votes
1answer
374 views

Is it ok to end a sentence with a preposition? [duplicate]

I have a sentence: It can be derived from either A or B. But I’m not sure how to ask the following question: Which one of them can it be derived from? Is that ok, or would it be better if ...
-4
votes
4answers
682 views

What does “ Rape someone's mind” mean? [closed]

Can we use of it to express violence by words and talks against another one or trying to impress him/her by advertisement against his/her own willing? Is it formal or informal? For example: Mona ...
3
votes
2answers
5k views

Is “catch up” used in formal language as in “We will catch up sometime”?

I wrote "we will catch up sometime" to one of my new friends. When I searched the Internet I found that people used it in informal situations. Is it okay to use this in formal writing as I did since ...
4
votes
1answer
989 views

“Not so much” at the end of a sentence

I've occasionally seen "not so much" used at the end of a sentence. For example, Jeff Atwood saying Some community feedback is useful. Others, not so much. Doing a symbolhound search for "not so ...
2
votes
2answers
194 views

Is the word “dorm” acceptable in a thesis?

I'm writing a thesis about students living in dormitories and I would like to know if a dorm is an acceptable expression for a dormitory? I don't live in GB nor in USA and the thesis is neither ...
11
votes
3answers
353 views

How should a person holding a foreign military rank be addressed?

While researching how to call a person that holds a rank at a foreign (non English speaking) military, I came to very confusing results: Wikipedia is not consistent on the issue: it sometimes gives ...
0
votes
1answer
2k views

Is this a complete sentence?

There was an ad on telly I saw, saying Relax, knowing your home is safe Is this a complete sentence that is grammatically correct? Could this go in an essay? What is the technical word for ...
1
vote
4answers
1k views

Formally saying that you are laughing without euphemisms or colloquialism without referring to yourself

I want to know how one can manage to assert that they are laughing without using euphemisms or colloquialism in first person, for example in a letter, without referring to yourself, that is saying ...
0
votes
3answers
351 views

Is “setup” an acceptable noun in formal writing?

I'm editing a draft of a scientific paper which repeatedly uses the word "setup" to refer to the, well, experimental setup. Example: The dimensions of the setup are 250 mm × 250 mm × 50 mm. ...
1
vote
1answer
3k views

Greetings when replying to the other party's response

Writing formal emails, When I reply to the other party's email, how should I start my e-mail? Starting the email for the first time, I'd say Dear XXX. But should I say it again when I write to them ...
13
votes
6answers
853 views

Does the word “newbie” have a negative connotation?

Imagine that I'm running a friendly and informal online business. I would like to introduce my service to the new customers by a blog post that entitles, 'Are you a newbie to XYZ.com?'. Will that ...
1
vote
2answers
249 views

What is the difference between “nudge” and “push” [closed]

I am trying to nudge them towards a practical solution. What does nudge imply here? Can't we just use something like push? Is the word outdated or still in use? I'm not trying to avoid using ...
1
vote
1answer
525 views

Acceptability of the phrase “While yet others” in formal English

Is it acceptable to use the phrase "While yet others" at the start of a sentence in formal English? Are there any alternative phrases that I could use? To put this into context, I wish to write ...
2
votes
2answers
411 views

Word or phrase for mere coincidence that brings happiness

I wish to state that my exposure to a certain area was a mere coincidence, and I am happy about the area. Moreover, I want to convey the idea that the incident was like a fairytale, something no one ...
-1
votes
1answer
115 views

Does 'agemates' have a space or not? [closed]

How is it correctly spelled? agemates or age mates
1
vote
2answers
111 views

Is it suitable to use “trump card” in scientific papers?

Suppose you improved an old method with a novel technique. Is it OK to say that it (your technique) is your trump card in paper? If not, what is your suggestion?
5
votes
5answers
993 views

Is there any reason why English doesn’t add respectful words in every sentence? [closed]

My mother tongue, Korean, and its neighbor Japanese have postpositions for expressing honoring the opposite in each sentence when we say to seniors or strangers if these are younger than the speaker. ...
6
votes
6answers
2k views

Is using the last name of a person without a title an accepted way of addressing?

I always heard people use Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms before people's names and that is how, I thought, it was done until I watched one of those Harry Potter films in which Malfoy (Sr) addresses Albus Dumbledore ...
3
votes
3answers
817 views

Is “ain’t” slang, or is it colloquial instead?

Does using the word ain’t in a song make it slang, whereas using it in a speech make it colloquial?
-2
votes
2answers
159 views

“Pitcher” or “Pitchee” when referring to oneself in a submission form

I'm pitching a story to a public broadcaster and the layout asks that I put my name on the top of the form. Am I the "Pitcher" or the "Pitchee", or should I just go with "Name"? "Name" seems too vague ...
-1
votes
3answers
6k views

Correct way of saying a decision has been made [closed]

What is the correct way of saying "decision has been made on a paper"? I review papers submitted by officials. Is it OK to say it like this? This paper has already been decision by Sam Rick. I ...
2
votes
4answers
3k views

Alternative to “as-well-as” for an academic paper

Is there some better alternative to phrase as well as for an academic writing? It sounds to me too informal. The whole sentence is: Improvements of both parts are possible as well as joining ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

“Deliberately” vs. “intentionally” vs. “on purpose”

I wonder if there is any difference between usage of these three: deliberately intentionally on purpose Are they completely interchangeable? Are they at the same level of formality? I found some ...
3
votes
1answer
201 views

Colon between “that is” and formal definition

Is it appropriate to use "that is" followed by a colon when defining something formally? I have the following example: Let γ be the set of groups that hold variables accessed by C, that is: γ ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

Using “you got it” in the sense of “you are welcome”

Normally I would assume the meaning of you got it were something like: You do understand it right. You’ve achieved your goal. Or even I’ll do it for you very shortly. But from time ...
2
votes
2answers
68 views

How to write that I used a graphic from another source and modified it? [closed]

I'm writing a thesis in English (I'm from Germany) in which I'll use a graphic from a book that I modified just a little bit. How do write it correctly? see [source], slightly modified. ...
0
votes
1answer
568 views

How can I say “I know him well” in a formal way [closed]

I need help in formal writing. Can somebody tell me how to say "I know him well after 2 year teaching him" formaly? Thanks in advance.
1
vote
2answers
8k views

Is the abbreviation “etc.” or “and so on” acceptable in formal writing? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: On the usage of “etcetera” Is the abbreviation etc. or "and so on" acceptable in scientific writing papers?
3
votes
3answers
11k views

formal way of saying “I want to”

I’m writing a piece of mail to the manager of some other company, and I wanted to ask him: On a different note, I wanted to know how you are doing [something]. I was wondering, is there a more ...
0
votes
2answers
185 views

How formal should the English in a personal blog be? [closed]

I'm starting a technology and/or programming oriented blog, and I was wondering how formal should the English be, specially when it comes to the shortening of words like "let's". Ideas?
1
vote
3answers
919 views

Is there a formal verb to describe the act of cheating on another?

I wish to say something along the lines of "after she found out her husband was cheating on her" however I have realized that 'cheating' is colloquial. Is there a formal alternative that is a ...