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

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

“call someone/something” vs. “call someone/something up” for "make a phone call to someone/something

What's the difference between call and call up to mean make a telephone call to? Is the latter any more informal than the former, or is it mainly a regional thing? call someone or something up ...
5
votes
2answers
12k views

“Thus” vs. “so” in formal English

Currently there are about 4000 international students from 110 different nations across the world, thus/so the university offers perfect conditions for socializing and making new friends. Is this ...
0
votes
1answer
17 views

“element identification techniques” or “techniques of element identification” [duplicate]

I don't know how this phenomenon is called. Simply put, I can either put the noun to the end and place it's properties before, or I can use "of". What is the difference, is some form more formal and ...
0
votes
0answers
30 views

Using slang in formal writing [on hold]

Is it appropriate to use the expression "are you up for something" in business writing? I have a client who knows me and my family personally, but I still want to be professional when writing. So, ...
0
votes
0answers
34 views

Greetings after saying Hello in noon, afternoon and evening in formal visits

In morning we usually say Good Morning. But what about noon, afternoon and evening. In informal visits we can use 'how u doing', 'what's up', 'how are you'. But what about formal situations? What ...
0
votes
1answer
32 views

More formal alternative for “called” [closed]

Is the word "called" used appropriately? The following sentences come from motivation letters and thesis. I had an opportunity to attend a seminar at an agency called XYZ Group. I studied ...
0
votes
0answers
28 views

A more formal way of saying “He followed their tracks” [closed]

What is a more formal way of saying, "he soon followed the boys tracks"? All answers appreciated
0
votes
0answers
33 views

What is the purpose of the word “that” in a sentence like “This means that I am unable to sleep.” [closed]

I am curious about what the formal purpose the word "that" provides in the above sentence vs something like "This means I am unable to sleep". Similarly what about the purpose of "that" in the below ...
0
votes
0answers
19 views

Can I start a sentence with “To do so,..”

Ex: I will cook a rabbit. To do so, I will have to hunt one in the forest. Is this construction correct? Can it be used in a formal sentence? Thanks a lot!
1
vote
0answers
38 views

Neither A nor B

As a native speaker, the basic usage of "neither" and "nor" are perfectly clear to me. However, natives may suffer from colloquial usage sounding more normal than formal grammar. I definitely have ...
0
votes
1answer
30 views

Formal Writing “Persuade” vs. “Convince”

A colleague of mine is a second language speaker of English. He is seeking work in academia after he graduates with a cover letter. Would it be more appropriate to use "Persuade" or "Convince" a ...
2
votes
2answers
61 views

Formal for “move the focus from A to B”?

What is a formal way of saying "move the focus from A to B" in the following context? The two curves swap their locations when we move our focus from measure A to measure B. My some lousy ...
1
vote
4answers
67 views
0
votes
2answers
81 views

“Could you Please provide me the details…”? [closed]

When we write a business email and want some information from the mail recipient, then which is the most professional way to ask for information. Does using "Please" in a sentence makes it look bad?
-1
votes
0answers
23 views

“You do it” Stressing on the first person

There is an expression in my language which stresses on the person you are talking to. You would expect it in any informal conversation like this Person1: Wash the car, Jack. Jack: You do ...
8
votes
8answers
6k views

Can the word “that” be used to refer to people?

I came across this SAT Question of the Day: Unbelievable as it may seem, many individuals that fought in the American Revolution were still alive in 1839, the year the world was introduced to ...
13
votes
6answers
2k views

Are “betwixt”, “trebble”, etc., acceptable in American English?

I grew up speaking British English. The words I learnt were occasionally marked off in papers, despite their being English words. Are words like betwixt, trebble, learnt acceptable in papers for ...
1
vote
3answers
51 views

Formal and polite way to tell someone “if you had told me”? [closed]

What's a formal and polite way to tell somebody "if you had told me in advance?" I'm writing an e-mail to someone who asked a month ago for a copy of a document delivered by postal mail. Turns out a ...
0
votes
2answers
22 views

Use of 'this' – relates to the directly preceding noun

I am a german native speaker. I am currently in the finishing stages of writing a thesis. One of my advisors (English is his mother tongue) provided feedback on the language of my writing. One point ...
0
votes
1answer
44 views

“The name is” or “My name is”

What is the fundamental difference between saying "The name is X" or " My name is X" to introduce yourself? It seems that both versions are used in movies/tv shows, but as far as I recall, no one ...
5
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
11
votes
5answers
2k views

Is the word “stool” an informal word or a formal word?

Is the word "stool" an informal word or a formal word? I think it is a kind of formal word, especially a medical word. It is used in several academic papers and articles, and also doctors like using ...
0
votes
0answers
29 views

How to address a person whose gender is not known [duplicate]

I want to write a formal letter. I know the name of address but do not the gender. How should I address him/her?
0
votes
0answers
29 views

What is a word for an entity which only provides a predefined set of tasks but doesn't want to engage new types of tasks?

Let's assume an entity was created to satisfy a predefined set of tasks, and cannot accommodate other new types of tasks. What is a formal word for this? For example, a service provider provider ...
17
votes
5answers
23k 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

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

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 TV. Sentences like "You fucking idiot." I've also heard ...
4
votes
2answers
76 views

Will usage of “Dear” while addressing in mail, sound informal? [closed]

I see many people using "Dear" while addressing people in email. But, I feel "Dear" is more intimate word in English and should be used with only relations. How does the word "Dear" is used at all ...
6
votes
4answers
9k views

What does “ain't” mean? [closed]

What does the contraction ain't mean? Is it appropriate to use it in formal settings?
2
votes
2answers
44 views

What's the difference between “formal” and “literary” language?

Sometimes when I look up the meaning of a word in google, like just now for "gustatory", not only do I get what part of speech it is but also added information, such as that it's a "formal" adjective. ...
0
votes
1answer
34 views

How to capitalise the first word of a sentence if it's been elided?

The example I have just come across: 'fraid we don't do it that way anymore. Or should it be: 'Fraid we don't do it that way anymore. Using either 'fraid is casual anyway because it should (more ...
4
votes
3answers
6k 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
84 views

Is it correct to use elipses in a formal essay? [closed]

I'm writing an essay and I want to write: These things all prove that Hitler was not a man of his word … So should England have trusted him? and then continue with my next points. Is this ...
-1
votes
2answers
367 views

How to say thank you to a friend who agreed to take care of my pet? [closed]

I have been preparing to IELTS test and currently I need to write a thank you letter to my friend, because she agreed to take care of my pet. So I've come up with this: Thank you so much for ...
1
vote
3answers
99 views

“Pardon” vs “Please can you repeat that”? [closed]

In a client/business conference call , when you do not hear, what the speaker was saying or the message was unclear due to noise disturbance, what is the professional way to say it:- Pardon Could ...
0
votes
1answer
38 views

Any difference between pleasure to us to… vs. pleasure of ours to…?

I am writing a super-formal letter (it is a semi-legal text) and I am unsure if there is any sensible difference between writing "It is a great pleasure to us to..." (26,200,000 hits on Google) ...
2
votes
2answers
96 views

polite questions vs. direct questions: real life reactions [closed]

In English courses (especially business), we learn to use polite questions. So we know that you shouldn't say "excuse me... where's the nearest supermarket, please?" but rather "excuse me... do you ...
5
votes
6answers
5k views

Usage of “ladies and gentlemen” to address two people of different 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 speaking....
0
votes
2answers
4k views

Studied, having studied or has studied?

This is a translation of my high school graduation certificate: This is to certify that XXX, male, ethnic group of Han, born in March 1988, native of A County, B City, C Province, studied in our ...
1
vote
1answer
118 views

Is using the word “Likewise” in a sentence not professional or informal? [closed]

Last evening in my communication class, we had some discussion. In that discussion I used the word likewise in a sentence. But they said using likewise in a sentence anywhere is not professional or it ...
0
votes
2answers
56 views

Another verb for “speaks to”

I often hear the phrase 'speak to' used as a verb. For example, "This event speaks to the need for good communication" or "Samantha, can you please speak to these dot points?" It seems appropriate ...
0
votes
0answers
37 views

“Am I (ever) [adj.] ” vs. “How [adj.] I am”

What's the difference between saying, Boy, am I happy to see you again! Damn, am I ever lucky to have a friend like you! -and- Boy, how happy I am to see you again! Damn, how lucky ...
-1
votes
2answers
344 views

Is “hail from (somewhere)” necessarily formal English?

Macmillan dictionary says hail from is "formal". link Cambridge dictionary notes hail from as "formal" in British English but doesn't say this for American English. link Oxford Learners ...
3
votes
5answers
17k 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
89 views

What's a more professional or formal way to say that someone is “cowering/hiding behind their keyboard”?

I am trying to explain how a lot of people online have a lack of accountability on the internet by hiding behind their keyboards.
-1
votes
1answer
94 views

“Kindly” vs “Please” : Which is better in official emails? [closed]

Consider the below sentences:- 1. Kindly review the document and let me know if I need to change something. 2. Please review the document and let me know if I need to change something. 3. Could you ...
4
votes
2answers
144 views

“throw out/away” vs. “toss (out)” vs. “pitch (out/away)” for “dispose of; discard; get rid of as worthless or useless” in AmEng

What's the difference between "throw out/away," "toss out," and "pitch (out/away)" to mean, "get rid of as worthless or unnecessary"? Can these be used just about interchangeably? THROW AWAY Also,...
1
vote
2answers
8k views

How is the sentence “My mama don't like you, but she likes everyone” correct?

I just heard Love yourself by Justin Bieber. I thought I heard "My mama didn't like you but she likes everyone" from the song. Then later I found lyrics on some websites(listed bellow) but it's not ...
11
votes
7answers
4k 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
61k views

Is it appropriate to use 'eagerly' while ending a formal e-mail

Nowadays, I always use the following phrase when I am ending formal email; I eagerly await for your response. Regards, I've seen this phrase somewhere, kind-of a formal e-mail and I am ...