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

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0
votes
1answer
432 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
6k views

“Make sure to” vs. “Be sure to”: Is the first one correct?

These two versions below are used interchangeably where I live now in the United States: Make sure to do something. Be sure to do something. But I always have found the first version clumsy. I ...
4
votes
1answer
699 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 ...
0
votes
5answers
97 views

Formal word for “gotten made”

Is there a formal term for "gotten made" or "gotten synthesized"? To be more clear lets assume that I have a design for a special chair; I ask the carpenter to fix it for me because I don't have the ...
0
votes
1answer
43 views

Can we use “bad” as an adverb in writing and formal speech? [duplicate]

Should a lecturer say "He felt bad" or "He felt badly"? "His tooth ached so bad he couldn't sleep" or "His tooth ached so badly he couldn't sleep"? Are both forms acceptable in formal ...
1
vote
3answers
272 views

What is the formal way to say “a bit”?

What is the formal way to say a bit in an essay, for example, in the sentence beginning “It is a bit different from”? Is a little formal enough?
10
votes
7answers
4k views

Indian-English usage of “Kindly”

I have noticed that the word "Kindly" is used a lot by some Indians speaking English as a second language. Does anyone know the origin of this?
2
votes
5answers
1k views

“Certificate of residence” vs. “certificate of residency”

Certificate of residence vs. certificate of residency — which one to use, when and why? Please quote a reputable source.
4
votes
8answers
907 views

Difference between “shall not exceed XXX” and “may be XXX but not longer”

The candidate's statement shall not exceed two hundred words. The candidate's statement may be two hundred words but not longer. I think there is no difference in meaning between these ...
1
vote
5answers
522 views

How common is “What happened?” when asking people to repeat what they said? How long has this been in common usage?

For several years, I have heard most young people and some adults use the phrase What happened? when they do not hear what is spoken. It appears to be used where previously several other phrases were ...
8
votes
8answers
15k 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
79 views

Is it polite to say 'thank you guys' if both genders were involved? [duplicate]

Related: Is "guy" gender-neutral? Discussion about more formal version: http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=1620575 Thank you (thank you guys)
4
votes
3answers
110 views

Is addressing a guy as “guy” rude?

Non-native here, is addressing a guy as just "guy" considered rude? Like, while addressing a pet-store clerk: "Hey, guy, how many mice will $13 buy?" Also, how long has it been in use?
-1
votes
2answers
55 views

Do these sentences make sense? [closed]

Notwithstanding the argument, I would still consider you as a friend. I was exhausted, notwithstanding I stayed up for another two hours. Maybe too formal to use in everyday writing as a word for ...
0
votes
2answers
52 views

“the below-identified person”: Term for this style and any style guides regarding

Are there any technical terms to specifically describe the two styles (A and B) below? Also, are there any prescriptive style guides that say which is preferable? My own preference is for style B ...
1
vote
3answers
81 views

“Between” Two Locations

I am typing up formal invitations, and I want to say that transportation will be provided from Point A to Point B (but also from Point B back to Point A). In order to clear up the to-from/from-to ...
3
votes
6answers
1k views

Usage of “ladies and gentlemen” to address two people of diiferent sex

It seems to be not quite logical to use the traditional address "ladies and gentlemen" when there are only a single lady and a single gentleman in the room, not counting for the person who is ...
-1
votes
0answers
27 views

“You are” vs. “you're” — what is the difference between them? [migrated]

I get confused between the two a lot. I want to understand how to use them appropriately, because I hate making mistakes.
9
votes
3answers
840 views

Is “get” (in the sense of “become/make”) appropriate for formal writing?

Is the use of "get + adjective/participle" appropriate for formal writing (for example, scientific papers)? I am thinking of usages analogous to get fat get inflated get sick where the meaning ...
1
vote
1answer
41 views

Which of “press” or “depress” the enter key is the more correct choice? [duplicate]

I’m reading a manual right now instructing one to “press” the enter key. However, both press and depress appear to be correct, as explained in the question Why is the term "depressed" often ...
2
votes
1answer
62 views

How to best convey excitement for the next assignment, quarter, or project? [closed]

I’ve just received feedback on my work during the second quarter of the year (Q2) from my manager. I would like to reply to this feedback and end my reply with a sentence along the lines of" ...
0
votes
1answer
46 views

Saying “programming” vs “coding” [duplicate]

I've always thought that "programming" sounded more professional opposed to "coding". But after looking at the words more closely I'm not entirely sure they mean the same thing. But even if they do ...
-1
votes
2answers
44 views

Concurrently with or Sequentially To/Sequentially With?

Drug A is administered concurrently with or sequentially to Drug B. I want to say in a formal manner that Drug A and Drug B are administered either at the same time or at different times, but I ...
2
votes
2answers
73 views

Is “shall” an appropriate word for a scientific thesis? [closed]

May I use the word shall in my scientific thesis? As in The relevant ones shall be introduced in the following. Or is shall considered slang or outdated?
12
votes
4answers
63k 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
1answer
48 views

Is it appropriate to use “it's my bread and butter” in formal english?

I am preparing for an English language test. That is why I am working on strengthening my English vocabulary. My question is regarding the speaking section of the test. If the examiner asks me about ...
0
votes
1answer
33 views

how to tell if you fall down your head will *** the floor?

how to say in the below scenario... if you fall down in the floor, your head will _ _ _ _ _ _ in the floor. the blank should talk about the crashing of head with the floor. What is the correct ...
0
votes
3answers
54 views

What is the correct way to respond to sender with full name

I recently received an email I need to respond to, but I am unsure of the correct way to address the sender. Dear Mr Sayse, [ . . . email body . . . ] Regards Joe Bloggs Is it ...
0
votes
2answers
65 views

What can replace “consists of”?

For reasons I cannot explain, I hate the phrase consists of. Does anyone have an alternative? An example is: Testing consists of continual operation, alternating between random writes and random ...
0
votes
1answer
59 views

Informal language: “you guy’s” vs. “your guy’s” [duplicate]

You guys and Your guys are somewhat informal in English language. Typical example usages: Do you guys want to come around to watch movies tomorrow night? Is addressing a party of more than ...
-1
votes
4answers
299 views

The expression “not so much”

I have noticed the appearance of the phrase "not so much" in the language recently. It strikes me as both grammatically incorrect and humorous when used. For example,"Jim is very smart; his brother, ...
4
votes
3answers
371 views

A formal word for 'disemvowel'

According to Collins English Dictionary, disemvowel is a transitive verb meaning 'to remove the vowels from (a word in a text message, email, etc.) in order to abbreviate it'. Since the ...
2
votes
1answer
60 views

marketing style of fairness products [closed]

If you have seen any ad of fairness related products, most of them show women who are disadvantaged by their complexion. Say, they show she isn't selected for a job interview because she isn't "fair" ...
3
votes
3answers
6k 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
46 views

Use of “nay” - still current?

I get the sense that the interjection nay is seen as outdated and used only for humorous effect. Is this assumption true, or is it still acceptable in serious writing?
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 ...
3
votes
4answers
552 views

How accepted is ‘f***ing’ in informal conversation?

I live in Brazil and speak English as a foreign language. For the past twenty years I've heard people use the adjective fucking more often than ever before in the US: in real life, in movies and on ...
5
votes
7answers
3k views

More formal synonyms of “snob”

To me, the word snob seems rather informal, although it appears in dictionaries, and I am unable to find anywhere on the internet a more formal word than snob. Are there any sophisticated synonyms ...
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
2answers
125 views

Is it okay to use “Sure thing” as a reply to my boss?

I was wondering whether sure thing — when I mean certainly — is too casual in a business environment, or whether it could be used under certain circumstances. (I’m not a native speaker of English.)
0
votes
3answers
136 views

Professional ways of saying “to know something”

Usually, in our CV or resume, we will say that "I know this, I know that, blah blah". I think the verb "to know" is not formal enough in such situation. Is there a better way to say you know ...
2
votes
1answer
155 views

Does this sentence have too many subjunctives?

Does this sentence have too many subjunctives? If it please the king, let it be decreed that they be destroyed, and I will pay 10,000 talents of silver into the hands of those who have charge ...
1
vote
2answers
154 views

Any better term than “Postscript”?

There was a Postscript section in my English Course-book, which simply teaches the colloquial English phrases as in "Give me a lift", "Let me have a look", "There is no point", etc. But "postscript" ...
9
votes
3answers
6k 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 ...
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 ...
3
votes
3answers
324 views

Which word(s) can be used to express causal relation in modern English? [closed]

I will skip it over, because nobody will have doubt on this. Since nobody will have doubt on this, I will skip it over. I will skip it over, for nobody will have doubt on this. An ...
6
votes
11answers
3k 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.
2
votes
2answers
76 views

What do you call a subordinate clause that follows its main clause but is wrongly punctuated as a separate sentence?

“This compelled the chancellor to shut down the whole program. Which was an outcome no one really wanted.” I suspect that what underlies this error is the sense that in spoken English a substantial ...
0
votes
2answers
493 views
6
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5answers
304 views

How to write a proper research paper with the use of pronouns referring to myself?

I am writing a research paper or report that is based on the development of my own product. Traditionally, the University I study in recommends that a research paper or report must be written by ...