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

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0
votes
0answers
39 views

What does it mean when someone says that something is a take?

I am not a native English speaker. So, I am familiar with only those terms and phrases which are clearly defined and used in literature or in formal communication. Today I came across following ...
0
votes
1answer
40 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
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0answers
28 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
27 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
22k 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
60 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
35 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
30 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
77 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
vote
0answers
38 views

In a formal paper, should I censor “brainf**k”, the name of a programming language? [migrated]

I'm working on a formal paper about programming languages. I am going to talk about two intentionally difficult languages, brainfuck and JSFuck. Should I leave the names as they are, or censor the ...
-1
votes
2answers
346 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
92 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
36 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) ...
0
votes
1answer
52 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
78 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
4k 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
3k 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
90 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
54 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
27 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
vote
2answers
329 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
16k 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
82 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
68 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
127 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
4k 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
59k 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 ...
80
votes
20answers
497k views

Which expressions can be used to close an email? [closed]

At the end of written communication like emails and letters, it is customary to use a closing valediction or "complementary close". Which formal and informal expressions can be used to end emails?
6
votes
4answers
2k 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?
6
votes
2answers
139 views

Usage of “homework,” “schoolwork,” and “assignment” in AmEng for schoolwork given to students to do at home

As far as AmEng goes, is there any difference in using either homework, schoolwork, or assignment to call schoolwork given to students to be done at home? Can these be used just about interchangeably? ...
11
votes
8answers
52k 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.
4
votes
4answers
681 views

Why do some people say “My name is Doctor / Dr. X” instead of “I'm Doctor / Dr. X”?

I'm Portuguese and I live in Portugal. Here it's (still) common to see some people using their academic/professional title in introductions: "Hi, I'm Doctor / Dr. / Eng. X". However, when watching ...
0
votes
1answer
51 views

“Puff words”: What is a good definition or explanation for this term by David Foster Wallace?

The late David Foster Wallace at least once used the term “puff words” to describe, I assume, the type of words in the list below that are not in parentheses. What exactly did Wallace mean by “puff ...
6
votes
6answers
1k views

Do you “create” a hypothesis?

What is the most appropriate verb when talking about making a new hypothesis? E.g. Lenneburg created the critical period hypothesis. Lenneburg coined the critical period hypothesis. ...
0
votes
1answer
106 views

Formal way to say “if it doesn't work out for you, then never mind” [closed]

I am writing an email asking for a change of meeting time. The recipient is a very important client who I've never met. And here is what I wrote: Please ignore the request if it causes ...
1
vote
2answers
104 views

temporal “directly” in AmEng usage: “immediately/without delay” or “shortly/in a little while”?

What does directly commonly mean in standard AmEng when used as a temporal adverb, immediately/instantly/at once/right away/without delay -or- soon/shortly/in a little while? DIRECTLY At ...
5
votes
3answers
4k views

Should contractions be avoided in formal emails?

In a formal email of the kind where you begin with "Dear Mr. Surname" and finish with "Best regards", for example, should we use the following contractions? Or are the non contracted forms more ...
15
votes
4answers
30k 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
113 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
369 views

“[will] likely” vs. “[will] probably” in AmEng usage

As far as AmEng goes, can likely be an acceptable alternate to probably in the following OUP quiz? The traffic is terrible so I'll probably be late this morning. Climate change is likely to ...
5
votes
3answers
285 views

“conclude” vs. “decide” in AmEng

Can, in some instances, conclude and decide be used just about interchangeably as far as AmEng goes? Please, consider the following examples: The committee concluded on a plan of action. The ...
0
votes
1answer
76 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
93 views

How etiquettical is it to start off a professional email with 'Hey'?

I've been wondering, why whould folks avoid the usage of Hey to greet someone/team as the mail starts, did that really read grotesque? What could be the alternatives other than the conventionals?
1
vote
1answer
56 views

“separate” and “terminate” for “dismiss/discharge” from employment in AmEng

According to Oxford Dictionary Online, separate US Discharge or dismiss (someone) from service or employment. terminate chiefly North American End the employment of (someone); dismiss: ...