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

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1answer
34 views

WC Formal phrase for “trademark” (tendency)

The Russians influence the Ukraine in politics, culture, and with their trademark imperial greed. Russia is known in the Western world for being very greedy and power-hungry (no offense to Russians ...
3
votes
4answers
572 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 ...
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0answers
7 views

Name of formal form of address [duplicate]

In some languages, such as Italian, when addressing someone who is senior to you or at a higher level with respect to some social hierarchy, it is customary not to use the second-person singular ...
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2answers
51 views

What's a formal/proper way of saying “the exact opposite”? [on hold]

I am writing a mock memo for a university assignment, addressed to a current professor. Thus, the general tone and genre of the letter is definitely formal. I am trying to say the following: (The ...
9
votes
1answer
356 views

When did “ain't” become slang?

In Anthony Trollope's The Way We Live Now, there are several places where "ain't" is used instead of "am not", such as: "I ain't afraid of him, if you mean that," continued Lord Nidderdale. — ...
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4answers
221 views

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

Just curious, does "Would you mind and do something" instead of "Would you mind doing something" sound acceptable in spoken AE, or is it an attempt to imitate or render colloquial speech in not so ...
2
votes
1answer
91 views

What should we call our elder cousin's wife? [closed]

We don’t call our cousins cousin Somebody the way we do with uncles and aunts; we just refer to them by their given name directly. But sometimes we cannot use their name to address them, such as if ...
66
votes
17answers
25k 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 ...
1
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1answer
99 views

Informal Vocabulary - 'Mank you'

I understand the character is being sarcastic but I don't understand why exactly he says 'mank you'. I looked up the word 'mank' and it doesn't make sense in the context so I suppose 'mank you' is ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

Is it okay to start a sentence with a Greek letter (variable)?

Is it okay to start a sentence with a variable? Do I need to rewrite a sentence just because the subject is typeset as a Greek letter? For example: Φ is treated in a special way. vs. ...
3
votes
3answers
134 views

Difference between “bunch of” and “group of” with regard to people

What are the contexts for using a bunch and a group when describing a handful of people? Please take both spoken and written English into account. For example, when is it more appropriate to use "a ...
2
votes
2answers
7k 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 ...
1
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1answer
66 views

“who” or “whom” as a relative pronoun - not always so easy [duplicate]

I take it for granted we all know when to use the relative pronouns "who" and "whom". And we also know that since the early nineteenth century there has been a steady decline in the use of "whom" ...
-1
votes
1answer
71 views

What does “Yeah, you did” mean?

This has been a question since I watched the episode Ted Mosby, Architect [HIMYM, Season 2] long time back. Yesterday I came across this again and I still don't get it. What does "Yeah, you did" ...
1
vote
1answer
252 views

Is 'acronymise/ze' a word? Is it used only colloquially, if at all?

I just sent a text to a friend, who didn't understand an acronym I used for a game: "Ah, I said it in a previous text so thought it was ok to abbreviate it." Though, since it was an acronym I ...
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votes
5answers
107 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
489 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
723 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
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1answer
66 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 ...
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3answers
408 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
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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
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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.
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8answers
949 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
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5answers
559 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 ...
9
votes
8answers
17k 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
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0answers
80 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)
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3answers
130 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?
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2answers
66 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
58 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
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3answers
84 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
886 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
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1answer
49 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
74 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
56 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
55 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
74 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
69k 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
54 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
39 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
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3answers
65 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
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2answers
70 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
67 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
332 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
378 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
61 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" ...
4
votes
3answers
9k 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
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1answer
49 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?
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3answers
1k 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
609 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 ...