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

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4
votes
2answers
56 views

Is the word “dear” used as a word to show affection or for official use in India?

Quite a few times now, from my working with Indians, I've had most of them refer to me as "Dear". A common occurrence is when I am chatting on social media or speaking on the phone. Though where I ...
2
votes
1answer
60 views

Are there linguistic markers that indicate to subordinates a desire to be addressed less formally

It's a bit of a shame that Is "pal" too informal when the other person is much older than me? was closed, as it dabbles in a difficult topic for all non-native speakers of English. Although ...
18
votes
8answers
2k views

Is there a term for ascribing acts of the human mind to non-human objects, and when is it appropriate to do this?

Nota bene: English isn't my native language, so when I say acts of the human mind, I attempt to generalize things such as making assumptions, drawing conclusions and (to some extent) to reject. To me ...
0
votes
4answers
74 views

Can I write “Kindly let me know openly”, finishing a letter?

What I want to do is to ask politely for feedback - including feedback that might be left out because it has negative aspects. So I want to ask the addressee not to ignore or suppress problems because ...
0
votes
0answers
12 views

Question on use that or not [duplicate]

It's a formal email to a client, My question is should I use with or without that to make it formal. This is to confirm that we are ready to purchase the items as discussed. This is to confirm, we ...
3
votes
3answers
486 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
9 views

Where to ask “Is this right?” question of a brief 10 lines text? [migrated]

It's a text for the dedication and aknowledgements sections of my thesis. Thanks
10
votes
4answers
11k views

Is “embiggen” considered a formal or slang word?

If my memory serves me correctly, I first encountered the word embiggen a year or so ago. I thought it seemed odd, but in context, the meaning was quite obvious. Since that time I've seen this word ...
2
votes
2answers
65 views

When should I use “all in”?

I learned that "all in" is an informal way to say exhausted. Is it more common to say "I am exhausted" or to use "I am all in"?
1
vote
2answers
68 views

Replacement For “Drive Someone Nuts” [closed]

In the expression to drive someone nuts, I studied that it's possible to replace the word nuts with words like: bananas, crazy, insane, bonkers, ... I'd like to know is this expression polite? If it ...
2
votes
2answers
64 views

How to use title in salutation, when recepient's name is unknown

I'm sending a formal letter to an adjudicator but do not know his or her name. What would be the most appropriate salutation? Dear Adjudicator: Dear adjudicator: Dear sir or madam: To whom it may ...
8
votes
9answers
758 views

What quality does a person lack who cannot understand another's point of view?

I am looking for a non-slang, non-colloquial word - a word that I can use when speaking to a professional therapist/counselor, to be exact. Another way to ask this question might be "What quality ...
0
votes
1answer
3k 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
3k views

Should contractions be avoided in formal emails?

In a formal email of the kind where you begin with "Dear Mr. Surname" and finish with "Best regards", for example, should we use the following contractions? Or are the non contracted forms more ...
3
votes
10answers
144 views

More formal synonym of “bullshit artist”?

I need more formal ways to express three related terms: bullshit artist, BS-ing, and the art of BS-ing. Edit -- providing some context: The type of BS I need to talk about is the kind that ...
1
vote
4answers
59 views

More formal alternative for “get a handle on sth.”

In a text I am writing (paper in the sciences), I find I would like to use the phrase “In order to get a handle on this problem, …”, but it seems a little informal. The intended meaning is “gain a ...
-1
votes
2answers
30 views

Cite authors or inform the reader that these guys made it?

I writing a research paper in which I want to say that Paul Viola and Michael Jones (authors behind a framework) made this framework. What is the more formal way of saying this?
37
votes
14answers
6k views

What can be used as formal euphemism of “hack”?

I'm writing a technical document, and I need to convey the fact that we had to find a non-optimal, non-orthodox solution that was adopted as the best available alternative (a hack) to solve an ...
35
votes
13answers
161k views

More formal way of saying: “Sorry to bug you again about this, but …”

I was wondering if there was a more formal and polite way of saying: Sorry to bug you again about this, but we still have not received a response about X .... (if we still have not received any ...
2
votes
0answers
103 views

How to politely say to sellers in stores that you don't need help? [closed]

This happens quite often. You're at a store, and while looking for clothes sellers come over and ask if you need any help. And since my English is far away from normal English I just use what I know ...
4
votes
4answers
9k 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?
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Formal way to say “I believe”

I am writing a chapter in a book and I want to say that "I believe that this researcher is right ....", in a more formal way. Can I say "The present author believes ....."
1
vote
4answers
205 views

Formal alternative to the phrase 'Not taken seriously' [closed]

I'm writing a legal essay and the sentence is For example, a young person’s reluctance to seek redress, and that youth are often not taken seriously, their words often not repeated in court rooms. ...
15
votes
4answers
2k views

Is the lowercase pronoun “i” a feature of Indian English?

The Rule The personal pronoun “I” is always capitalized in English, regardless of its position in a sentence. This is an orthographic convention that every native speaker should know. Whenever I ...
1
vote
3answers
7k views

Is it acceptable to use a tilde symbol to sign your name? [closed]

Should the tilde symbol (~) be used to sign your name? It seems quite commonplace on Internet forums but I don't believe I've ever seen it used in books.
0
votes
0answers
37 views

Asking a boss to be if agreement still holds?

I'm awaiting for my employment contract to arrive, which is one week overdue. How do I ask my employer to be if our agreement made over the phone is still in force without looking annoying or ...
0
votes
2answers
31 views

Is “fellow course members” formal

If one enters "fellow course members" In Google one only gets 8k+ hits. It is correct? And a formal way to describe people that took the same course you did? If not, what is? Is there some ...
3
votes
3answers
161 views

A formal synonym/expression for “saying that”

I need a more formal expression for "saying that" here. I couldn't find another formal expression Saying that rape culture is an environment where emotional and physical violence against women ...
0
votes
0answers
79 views

Professional Engineering-related Business Letter

For one of my Engineering Courses, I had to write a professional Business Letter to inform my hypothetical employer of my analysis about two alternatives, and which one of them is better. For this ...
4
votes
5answers
2k views

Is there a formal word for people that are local to a place? [closed]

I wish to write about the people and language of a city I recently visited in an essay. Is there a word for people who are local to a place?
7
votes
8answers
5k views

A more formal word for 'Screwed.' [closed]

Hi I'm doing a formal writing essay and I'm using a phrase from an online source. In this phrase it has Your screwed. Would I get away with having this phrase in the essay? If not what is an ...
3
votes
4answers
963 views

Is answering a question with “Why, ” rude?

In a book I've read some characters are answering questions with "Why, ", e.g. Why not come to me? you ask, and I must answer, Why, because I did not trust you, my lord. and they never mean it ...
52
votes
11answers
5k views

Is “data” considered singular or plural?

Related to this question and this question. My non-native English speaking friend just asked me: Data is ... or Data are ... I said both but that's because I've been desensitized from ...
2
votes
2answers
96 views

The quality of things you stick with

I was wondering if there is a word in English to describe the quality of things we stick with. For example, if a training is well designed, people will tend to keep using it. Meanwhile, if it's not, ...
3
votes
3answers
115 views

Formal alternatives for: “There is not a need”

I am writing a formal technical report and I would like some advice about an expression I want to use. I have a sentence which I want to make more formal: The merit of their approach is that ...
8
votes
6answers
3k views

Usage of “is when”

In grade school, when writing stories for English classes I recall being gently corrected whenever I handed pieces in that contained sentences with a structure similar to this: “A debate is ...
0
votes
1answer
25 views

Is the statement ending with “for” considered proper? [duplicate]

What would be a better and more formal way out of the two below: The capability was not catered for. or We did not cater for this capability. Or perhaps these are fully interchangeable?
0
votes
3answers
224 views

Is “aha” an appropriate answer to “thank you”?

I have heard many native speakers in the United states answer with a brief and cold "aha" when someone says "thank you". Is it really appropriate to answer like that? I myself feel offended when I ...
1
vote
1answer
45 views

“Top 1 %” or “99th percentile” for formal usage?

Which is more formal (i.e. on a resume), "top 1%" or "99th percentile." ?
1
vote
2answers
59 views

Formalities calling work colleagues, clients an partners as Pal/Pals

In my work we have a collaborative tool for work interaction where we debate things like workflow and issues. I'm in a interaction with workmates, client employees and partners. I thought to reference ...
2
votes
3answers
175 views

closing words for e-mail to person with incurable disease [closed]

What kind of closing words as an alternative to We wish you full and quick recovery can be used in a formal letter when writing to a person with an incurable disease. I/We wish you all the ...
0
votes
1answer
136 views

Using “e.g.” instead of “for example”

I am reviewing a software manual, and I frequently come across sentences like (made-up example): The value is 1, but you can set it to e.g. 100 It seems to me that the use of "e.g." is wrong in ...
1
vote
1answer
484 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 niggles me to find them "in print", especially when the overall tone is formal. ...
0
votes
0answers
47 views

Which terms are used to describe language usage?

When trying to explain the usage of words in French to English speakers, I'm handicapped by my lack of vocabulary to describe when words are used. Looking in dictionaries for the French terms give me ...
10
votes
5answers
29k views

More formal way to say “follow up”

I am writing a formal letter and want to say "I am following up with you regarding..." but I need to say it more formally.
4
votes
3answers
8k views

Usage of 'Hi' and 'Dear' in Formal Communication [closed]

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.
0
votes
2answers
128 views

What is the best time / are the best times for a meeting?

I'm about to arrange a meeting with a person. I have a feeling that when I say "What is the best time for a meeting?", I'm sort of forcing them to come up with one option only. I'd like to show them ...
2
votes
5answers
125 views

Verb in active voice for “being penetrated”

The context is sexual and the example, straightforward: providing an alternative to "a man's penis penetrates a woman's vagina" where the female organ is the subject of the sentence, and using a verb ...
-1
votes
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?
0
votes
2answers
49 views

What should I use in this case: “despite”, “though,” or “even though”?

That way my mom can move on, find someone else, despite having sworn she'd only marry God." That way my mom can move on, find someone else, though she swore she'd only marry God." ...