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

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18
votes
4answers
2k views

Avoiding stuffy language: “Therefore”, “Thus”

In my thesis, I'm using "thus" and "therefore" a lot. This is repetitive and it sounds stuffy. Is there any alternative which sounds a bit more relaxed but is acceptable in scientific writing? "So" ...
2
votes
2answers
66 views

How to distinguish formal words from informal words?

As an English Learner, how can I distinguish (or recognise) formal words from informal words. Also, formal sentences from informal sentences. For example: So/Then/Therefore/Thus and many others. Are ...
0
votes
1answer
31 views

To “opt-out” or to “withdraw”?

Which is more formal in register, opt-out of something or withdraw from something? Are there any more formal ways to phrase the idea?
1
vote
3answers
77 views

How to properly say “the email that I've sent you”? [on hold]

What would be the most formal way to say the following: I wanted to see your thoughts about the email that I sent you last Thursday. I am a little unsure about "the email that I sent you". I feel ...
2
votes
2answers
4k views

Is “whatsoever” a formal word in written English?

The authors make no mention whatsoever about... Is this sentence appropriate for formal writing?
1
vote
2answers
48 views

What's a formal way to say something is “happening”?

What is a formal way to say something has a lot of activity in it? I can only think of two informal ways to say it. For example: This field of physics is very "happening" right now. This field of ...
12
votes
9answers
27k views

How often do people say “gotta”, “wanna” or “gonna” in English speaking countries?

I learned these three words from Collins Cobuild Advanced Learner's English Dictionary. got|ta /g'ɒtə/ Gotta is used in written English to represent the words 'got to' when they are ...
3
votes
4answers
6k views

Is using “have” better than using “got” in the following sentence?

Take a gander at the following two versions of the same sentence: "I got an mp4 video file" vs. "I have an mp4 video file" Someone 'corrected' me by changing the first form to the second ...
0
votes
1answer
30 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, ...
1
vote
2answers
209 views

“simply”, “merely” and “only” - Are they interchageable in formal writing?

In the following sentence: "They are ....... wasting their time." Would "simply", "merely" and "only" be interchangeable? When I was a student of English I was taught the use of "simply" in formal ...
0
votes
2answers
27 views

When we are making a project in a group, how can we say that sentence?

Hello I'm preparing a CV in English. What is the formal way of saying I'm in an project? This sentences below are valid or not ? Thanks. I'm included to a project. I have been enrolled to a project. ...
1
vote
1answer
57 views

Is it correct to say ''you ARE to be back here before dark'' [duplicate]

I'm reading a novel and a character says this line:''you ARE to be back here before dark'' but I could not find this usage of the verb to be in my dictionary, so here I ask you if this is informal ...
0
votes
2answers
75 views

the slang contraction of “what'd he” as in the sentence “what'd he come at you with”

What is the slang contraction of "What'd he" as in the sentence "What'd he come at you with"? "What'd he" is already a contraction but I mean in the same manner like whatcha = what're you=what've you, ...
11
votes
10answers
24k 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
15k views

What are sentences like “the longer X, the more Y” called and can they be used in formal written English?

What is the type of sentence exemplified below called? Is it appropriate to use it in a scientific paper and formal written English in general? 1. The more pronounced the variation, the more the ...
0
votes
3answers
122 views

What is a formal word meaning “paid off”?

I can not think of any way to say paid off in a formal way. Susan’s speech and struggle during those rough times has _______.
1
vote
1answer
59 views

Alternative for “particularly interested” [closed]

What are other formal ways of saying "I'm particularly interested in..."? In this case it's for use on cover letters for CVs. The synonyms for "interested" offered by the thesaurus don't seem ...
25
votes
4answers
3k views

The times they are a-changin'

I have always been intrigued by the word usage in the title of this Bob Dylan song. Wikipedia mentions that the song was influenced by Irish and Scottish ballads: Dylan recalled writing the song ...
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 ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

Is the word 'cocksure' considered informal, non-PC, or even vulgar?

None of the following resources seem to think so: Merriam-Webster, The Free Dictionary, Oxford Dictionaries, Collins. But Cambridge Dictionaries Online says it is informal. And it appears on Urban ...
5
votes
5answers
21k 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Is ‘Yes-ish’ a perfect alternative to Yes, or is it 'Yes ‘on condition’? Is it received English?

I found a word ‘Yes-ish’ in the answer (from PLL) to my question about the meaning of ‘Stuck to the script’ I posted today. As it is quite new to my ear, I consulted with Wikipedia before logging out ...
36
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 ...
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?
5
votes
11answers
1k views

What is a formal equivalent of “get (a)round something”?

I'm writing a formal letter and I have to use the verb "get round something" (BrE) or "get around something" (AmE) to express a way of finding an alternate solution to deal with a problem. Quoting the ...
1
vote
3answers
2k views

Formal way of saying “when you are in need”

How can I write following in a formal way? It will help you when you are in need. It will help you when it is required. It will help you when needed. It will help you when you required to be helped. ...
0
votes
0answers
64 views
62
votes
20answers
419k views

Which expressions can be used to close an email? [closed]

At the end of written communication like emails and letters, it is customary to use a closing valediction or "complementary close". Which formal and informal expressions can be used to end emails?
1
vote
1answer
62 views

Acceptability of Gonna, Wanna [closed]

How acceptable is it to use wanna, gonna, etc in business or more formal US environments?
4
votes
4answers
125 views

Why do some people say “My name is Doctor / Dr. X” instead of “I'm Doctor / Dr. X”?

I'm Portuguese and I live in Portugal. Here it's (still) common to see some people using their academic/professional title in introductions: "Hi, I'm Doctor / Dr. / Eng. X". However, when watching ...
1
vote
1answer
89 views

A formal synonym for “to be asked to do something” [closed]

I'm looking for a formal synonym for the phrase and counting on your help. I was wondering about "request" like in "The guests are requested to wear appropriate attire.", but it doesn't sound good for ...
12
votes
5answers
110k views

What is the male equivalent of “mistress” in formal English?

The mistress definition, Oxford dictionary a woman having an extramarital sexual relationship, esp. with a married man I am looking for the male equivalent of 'mistress' as defined above. Some ...
0
votes
4answers
70 views

Does this sentence sound awkward? [closed]

"Unlike my specific ancestry, he is a biracial individual with roots in Asia and in U.S." I'm having trouble especially in the first section, where I am trying to show that my friend's background is ...
0
votes
2answers
129 views

Ellipsis in “can and have occurred”

The side effects can and have occurred. The omitted verb is an infinitive (occur) but the written verb is a past participle (occurred). Is this sentence grammatically correct and suitable for ...
2
votes
1answer
90 views

abbreviation in academic papers [duplicate]

During the paper writing, a question came up into my mind: can abbreviations be used in these articles? There are at least 2 kinds of abbreviations, one is the so-called terminologies(or jargons?) ...
4
votes
2answers
5k views

What is a “hens party” and where is this phrase commonly used?

Where does the term come from, where in the world is the term used? I came across the usage in this article, with this paragraph as quoted: Keara O'Neil was on a shopping trip to find bridesmaid ...
0
votes
1answer
32 views

a private friend x a close friend [closed]

What would be the best way to express intimacy with a friend? A close friend = It would be a friend who doesn't like to talk about? A private Friend = It would be a close friend? I am very ...
0
votes
3answers
145 views

How to formally say “I just would like to get this over with, so you and I do not have to think about it any more” [closed]

I am currently in a state where my former employee does not respond to my email. I am tired of bothering them. I do not know if my email is blocked, but I do not think it hurts to write things ...
4
votes
2answers
275 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 ....."
8
votes
3answers
23k views

Is “I'm screwed” a rude expression?

Is "I'm screwed" a rude expression, or can it be used when someone tries to say they made a mistake? I overheard it from someone who seemed to have failed at his task.
2
votes
2answers
139 views

Thanks. You got it

Can "You got it, dude " be used as a reply to "thank you" in informal English?
3
votes
3answers
6k 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 ...
6
votes
7answers
3k 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
190 views

What is a word similar to FYI but not objective/neutral

FYI can be used in an email to inform the person reading the email about some information. It is comfortable using this between peers. But what if the mail is intended to inform someone higher in the ...
0
votes
1answer
711 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 ...
6
votes
12answers
7k views

Is there a word for “without any reason” but a more formal one

A sample sentence would be: Why did you ban me without providing a reason? Is there a single word to replace "without providing a reason" with? Indiscriminately is not an option for me.
70
votes
18answers
30k 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
72 views

Less formal synonym for “Confirmed”, “Acknowledged”

I'm looking for a less formal synonym for "Confirmed" or "Ackowledged", that retains some brevity. As an example, say I've received an e-mail from my manager asking me to switch to a different task. ...
1
vote
1answer
63 views

Starting a book with this sentence, is it ok? [closed]

I'd like to start a book with a sentence like this: This book is about X, so why should it start with Y? In fact, the book is already written, but I'd like to get the first few pages absolutely ...
1
vote
2answers
63 views

What is a more formal way of saying “get certifications”?

I would like to create a sentence, in which I express, that I have (successfully) gotten a few certifications, but I feel like this sounds too informal for a letter of application. Has anyone got a ...