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

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2
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1answer
45 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
27 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
52 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
92 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
20k 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
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2answers
92 views

Thanks. You got it

Can "You got it, dude " be used as a reply to "thank you" in informal English?
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 ...
6
votes
7answers
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 ...
1
vote
2answers
111 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
604 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
107 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 ...
6
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12answers
5k 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.
68
votes
18answers
28k 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
46 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. ...
0
votes
2answers
110 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
41 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
31 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
5k views

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

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.
2
votes
5answers
638 views

How to say “I don't believe you” in a more academic way?

How to say "I don't believe you" in a more academic way? I need to say it to my teacher and I do not know how to say it, not to make her mad...
12
votes
5answers
91k 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 ...
5
votes
5answers
17k 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
681 views

Word for a “Male Mistress”

Is the male version of a mistress, a mastress? It's a term I would use, but I don't know if it is just slang or if it is formal... P.S. I mean a male that sleeps with a married woman (love, not ...
1
vote
4answers
193 views

Word for an Original Idea

Is there a good word for an idea that someone came up with on their own? I'm talking about an original idea. The reason I want such a word is for my notes so that I can annotate, with as few words ...
1
vote
2answers
167 views

Is it unprofessional to say “Sorry for my English”? [closed]

First of all I am sorry if this is wrong forum for this question. I have come in a situation recently where I was needed to write a mail to a foreign company. And as you probably noticed by now my ...
8
votes
14answers
3k views

What is a good verb to describe the pleasant sound of rain?

Last week, I was up the whole night working in my house in my ultra-quiet neighborhood. Around 3 am, a thunderstorm started and broke the silence of the night. I enjoyed the sound of rain on my window ...
0
votes
1answer
35 views

Time period in a date period [closed]

I want to mention the date and time I collected my questionnaires in an academic report. Let's say they are distributed: Time period: 1:00PM - 4:00PM Date period: 1 October 2014 - 3 October ...
2
votes
1answer
42 views

How to best include an introductory phrase before getting to the point? [closed]

This question may seem too large in scope from the title, but here's the preface to the answer I seek. I need to inform my hiring manager (HM) that I have served my last day with my current ...
0
votes
0answers
34 views

Formal way of saying “how it feels like to do sth.”?

How may I adapt the following sentence so that the adapted version is formal? Through this internship, I experienced how it feels like to work in a top company.
0
votes
3answers
89 views

'Was' or 'were' with 'period' & 'eleven years' [duplicate]

I was reading a letter I got from an old friend, back in 1998, and at a certain point she wrote: "Our period of greatest prosperity were those eleven years when Thatcher was in office." ...
10
votes
7answers
1k views

Is “to boil down” formal enough to be used in scientific writing? [closed]

The phrase to boil down to something can be found in most dictionaries. However, to me, it sounds colloquial to write Finding an exact solution to Eq. 1 boils down to ... A real-life ...
0
votes
1answer
57 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 ...
0
votes
4answers
92 views

Word for a person who is responsible for their job and doesn't neglect it

This is a topic for a TOEFL essay: What are some important qualities of a good supervisor (boss)? Now I'm looking for a word that best describes a supervisor that doesn't neglect their work, and ...
1
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2answers
70 views

“(1) stop, (2) drop, (3) and roll” or “(1) stop, (2) drop, and (3) roll” [closed]

Which is correct, formally speaking, or is either acceptable based on style and consistency?
11
votes
5answers
3k 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
161 views

Formal Version of “Getting Around”

I am writing an essay about The Catcher in the Rye, and need to mention Stradlater's ability to get with basically any girl he wants. It can be said that he "gets around" (sorry for lack of a better ...
0
votes
1answer
51 views

Alternatives to “intoxicates” in formal writing

In the following sentence: Stephano intoxicates Trinculo and Caliban. To me, the wording is awkward. I would like to find alternatives to intoxicates in formal writing, but I cannot discern what ...
1
vote
1answer
161 views

“Formal English” - Can its meaning vary from place to place? From person to person?

Can it be opinion based? Whenever I ask a question here about word usage in formal English, I will invariably get a comment saying "It depends on what you mean by formal English". Isn't there an ...
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 ...
3
votes
4answers
13k views

Formal way to wish good morning

I am not a native English speaker, the source of my learning is books, websites and of course movies and music. In the movie — if I remember the name correctly — The Last Samurai, I heard that they ...
10
votes
2answers
13k 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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
145 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 ...
2
votes
6answers
14k views

More formal way to say “just in case”

I thought "provisionally" was what I was looking for, as in: "As a provisional measure, I'd like someone with Volkswagen Corporate to follow up with me next week." What I really mean is: "Just in ...
2
votes
7answers
3k views

Usage of the phrase “you don't know what you don't know”

What is the correct usage of phrase "you don't know what you don't know"? Can it be used in formal conversation/writing?
5
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3answers
27k views

Can I use “therefore”, “so”, “hence” and “thus” interchangeably?

I was taught that, at least, 'therefore' and 'so' and can be used interchangeably, one being informal, the other formal. But, even when written, replacing 'so' with 'therefore' doesn't seem correct. ...
-1
votes
1answer
22 views

What should I write under “signed” tag? [closed]

Signing english documents (UK, if that changes anything) I am wondering what should I write under "Signed" tag? I wouldn't have doubts if the blank would be described as "Signature", but "Signed"? And ...
0
votes
2answers
262 views

Is the question/greeting “How're you going?” correct usage?

I was just wondering if the question/greeting "How're you going?" is correct usage? I know it's more prevalent in Australia because I live here and have heard it very often. I guess the American ...
3
votes
0answers
54 views

Did I “say” that online, or did I “write” it? [closed]

When we refer to something someone else has previously spoken or written, we usually differentiate between the spoken and written word with the verb introducing the quote or paraphrase: In his ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

How to politely request to be called by first name instead of Mr. Surname?

Let's say that somebody from a partner firm with whom I've never spoken before starts an email to me with "Dear Mr. Rossi,". When a reply to her, I think I will then have to start with "Dear Ms. ...
4
votes
4answers
851 views

Why do some questions not start with an auxiliary verb?

When I learned English, my teachers told me that all questions must have an auxiliary verb at the beginning, just like Are you mad? or Is she playing? do. But when watching some movies or talking ...