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

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1
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1answer
43 views

Do more contractions always mean more informality?

As my limited experience in English indicates, more contractions are used in spoken English than in written. Moreover, too many contractions favor casualness. Compare: I would not have come. I ...
-1
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1answer
18 views

Using formal sentences

How to end up any message or email when we want to ask , Kindly tell me if and when can I meet you in your busy schedule ?
4
votes
1answer
70 views

Assessing Formality via the Root of the Word

Firstly, I'd point out that as this is a slightly open-ended question I'm not certain how well it fits in with the guideline. I'm hoping that the fact there's a way to define an answer means that it ...
0
votes
1answer
41 views

Can I use meet for an online meeting?

I would like to know if I can say "We can meet on Monday or Tuesday" in email as a reply to a sales person's email asking for a couple of days options for an online meeting -- a sort of Skype call. I ...
5
votes
7answers
484 views

“Would you mind and do something” in nonstandard colloquial AmEng

Does Would you mind and do something instead of Would you mind doing something sound acceptable in spoken AmEng, or is it an attempt to imitate or render colloquial speech in not so formal writing? ...
0
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0answers
31 views

Opposite of 'buckle up'

If I wanted a kid in my car to fasten his/her seatbelt, I'd say 'Buckle up!'. It is an informal expression, and I'm wondering if there is a phrasal verb with the opposite meaning (to ...
6
votes
6answers
1k views

“I have strived” vs “I have striven”

In a college application essay, I am trying to write the sentence along the lines of: I have always strived to achieve my goals. Should I say strived or striven? According to this article at ...
2
votes
3answers
73 views

“road” vs. “pavement” vs. “roadway” for French “chaussée” [road surface] in AmEng vernacular

What's the difference between those terms? Can they be used just about interchangeably? road: a long, narrow stretch with a leveled or paved surface, made for traveling by motor vehicle, carriage, ...
2
votes
1answer
78 views

Common ways to tell the time

I'm a non-native speaker. In school, I was taught that the proper way of telling times in English is X o' clock. In NAE, would it be common to omit o' clock and just say something like: It's ...
5
votes
2answers
213 views

“The government 'is' always changing 'their' mind” in AmEng

Why would using the construct "is/their" instead of "is/its" in the following examples likely be frowned upon by some native speakers and marked as incorrect on tests? The class is working on its ...
16
votes
5answers
17k 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 ...
8
votes
9answers
2k 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 ...
1
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2answers
7k 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

proper way to write the slang term for “gravitational force”

I came across something very similar to this in a thriller novel: At this stage, the rocket is experiencing its maximum acceleration, say about ten gees. Here, the author has spelled out the ...
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votes
2answers
43 views

“Should” as formal IF

Can a phrase starting with "if" always be replaced with a phrase with a phrase starting with SHOULD? It doesn't seem like we can make a direct substitution. For example, we say If he askED you ...
-1
votes
0answers
28 views

Should I include a condolences message in a work related email [migrated]

I regularly exchange emails with two remote contractors who are from Indonesia. I will need to send a work related email later today or tomorrow. Should I mention anything about the terrorist attack ...
9
votes
4answers
12k views

What's the difference between orthography and spelling?

The terms "spelling" and "orthography" seem to be largely synonymous. What is the difference really? Is it that "orthography" is a more formal or technical term and hence more well-defined? Or is it ...
7
votes
3answers
300 views

I haven't seen her “for”/“in” two days

What's the difference between using either for or in in the following examples? Bill hasn't taken a vacation for/in two years. Jack hasn't been to school for/in four days. I hadn't seen ...
11
votes
7answers
43k 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.
3
votes
2answers
23k views

What is a more eloquent way to say “I hope I'm not asking too much”?

I've been emailing back and forth with another professional who has been very generous in sharing a workflow developed at their institution. This professional has gone to great lengths to answer my ...
0
votes
1answer
58 views

Is “then” considered as informal in a technical report? [closed]

It is correct to use "then" in a formal sentence? Here is an example sentence: "In case that a cylinder is not at end position then the operator has to move manually the cylinder in order to meet ...
1
vote
1answer
35 views

“Heck” in formal writing

So I'm trying to make a proper transition to the next sentence and was wondering if I could use "heck" in such formal context. The AI will recognize people entering the apartment and greet them ...
1
vote
1answer
23 views

School or education in my resume?

I'm filling an employment application, so I want to know what is the most formal way to refer to my education block. Personal information. -Name: -Age: -Address: -Phone: Introduction & Goals. ...
2
votes
0answers
67 views

Formal way of asking- “what's your name”? [migrated]

I would like to ask "what's your name" in a formal way. I want the equivalent in English of "¿como se llama (usted)?" Spanish question.
0
votes
2answers
50 views

Offer me (something) or offer (something) for me?

I have an issue with the usage of the word offer. This particular sentence below is giving me a headache. I am positive that these two subjects can offer me the best opportunities, as I take ...
-1
votes
2answers
65 views

Is it formal to say “I've met people I was able to connect with”? [closed]

I would like to say the following: "During my daily work I’ve met many interesting people I was able to connect with." Is this right in a formal way? What I would like to say is that I did ...
0
votes
2answers
45 views

How to request to be addressed by one's title and surname [closed]

I am wondering if anyone might have a suggestion about how to request to be addressed by a personal title and one's surname. For example, I prefer to be addressed as, "Mr. Redgate," but I do not wish ...
1
vote
1answer
38 views

How to finish a letter in a conciliatory manner [closed]

I have drafted a letter to someone who works in the same team as me, discussing some issues regarding teamworking and I want to finish the letter by saying that I hope they receive the letter in a ...
2
votes
3answers
74 views

“Lest” or “Or?”

Colloquially, I would always use or where I would formally use lest. For example, "go to sleep, or you'll be tired" versus "go to sleep, lest you be tired." Has this usage of or been around for ...
2
votes
2answers
74 views

“woodsy” vs. “woody” for “covered with trees/wooded” in NAmEng

What's the difference between those terms? Context would be a quaint little village nestled into a hillside covered with trees, sort of like this one. WOODY: 4. Abounding in trees; wooded. ...
4
votes
2answers
5k views

“Engagement”, “betrothal” — connotations?

I'm not a native speaker, so frequently I don't know underlying semantic subtleties of synonyms; what connotations they bear, which may be antiquated or very official, which are specific to given ...
0
votes
2answers
44 views

Better phrases to describe “taking A-levels” or any other course

What phrase should I use when writing about my qualifications? I feel like saying e.g. "I am taking A-levels" sounds informal (A-levels is the examination students in England take). What other verb or ...
16
votes
6answers
1k 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 ...
3
votes
6answers
593 views

Formal way of saying “I'm on it” [closed]

Want to answer to my supervisor's question about the status of a task. What come's to my mind is "I'm on it". What's a more formal way of saying that?
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votes
1answer
109 views

Can we use both “gonna” and “wanna” together? [closed]

For instance, can we say "I'm gonna wanna do it". or is it better to say "I am going to want to do it". It shouldn't be grammatically incorrect, but can we consider this is not common even in informal ...
9
votes
5answers
12k views

Is using “and/or” recommended for formal writing, or is it frowned upon?

Is using "and/or" allowed in formal writing? If not, is there general way to represent the OR binary operator with as little space as possible in written English?
3
votes
5answers
14k 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
37 views

Is “I like [adjective]” acceptable in formal contexts? [closed]

Lately I've seen a lot this "I like [adjective]" structure. I really like this kind of "untranslatable" structures because those are the ones that make me feel I'm really speaking English (and not ...
1
vote
3answers
48 views

Is “I would like to know” informal? [closed]

I'm sending an e-mail to schedule my internship. Is this sentence, "I would like to know if I can cover up Thursday's by working extra hours on other days." sounds informal? Is there a better way to ...
9
votes
16answers
3k views

Informal terms for money amounts

What informal terms are used in English as money amounts? I know the following US terms and I'm curious about the rest: a grand: 1000 dollars a buck: 1 dollar
1
vote
2answers
53 views

Is “from all over” ok in a formal text?

Context: academic, resume-like document detailing a person's achievements. "The institute has attracted people from all over the University" Does the above sound okay, or is the "from all over" an ...
1
vote
1answer
65 views

Is it wise to specify a country name in brackets when referring to foreign city in an official document

While writing a formal document in an English language, I would like to know whether it's wise to specify a country name in brackets when referring to foreign city in an official document. For ...
2
votes
1answer
75 views

Differences between formal and colloquial English? [closed]

What are the basic differences between formal and colloquial English? Is it right that colloquial English uses more contracted forms, slang expressions, phrasal verbs, subjunctive, and euphemisms? ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

How and when to use “wont”

I stumbled upon this word lately, as in he was wont to come early I'm wondering what feeling it has for native speakers. For example, can I use in a meeting, or in a written report?
2
votes
1answer
81 views

“I'm all about that bass”

My question is all about the perceived formality of using about in the sentences like I'm all about that bass. How (in)formal is using about like this? OED has this definition for this usage: to ...
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votes
2answers
229 views

Four-letter word riddle [closed]

A word has four letters, yet if you remove the first letter, the pronunciation doesn't change. What is the word?
0
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0answers
25 views

Noun and Adjective position

In a formal engineering document about an HTML file, a colleague of mine wrote the next thing (starting a sentence): Tag <color> shall be repeated at least 5 times [...] (For the sake of ...
3
votes
3answers
4k views

Status of 'Dear Both' as a salutation

It seems quite common (although not universally accepted) to open emails addressed to a large group with "Dear All," (see e.g. this question). Extending this logic, is seems reasonable to open with ...
0
votes
1answer
46 views

Word for not knowing if something is good or bad?

So I'm trying to find a word for if you are unsure whether something could be good or could be bad. The context I'm using it in is that a character noticed something about themselves that they are ...
0
votes
2answers
1k views

Is it acceptable to say “I don't have a clue” meaning “I don't know” in formal English?

I'm a non-native speaker. When I was a student of English my teachers mentioned this answer was to be avoided in formal situations, except for its literal meaning. Years later I heard it twice, as a ...