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 website in question) has changed its web technologies and layout within the past year with the intended goal of improving general user experience. However, the exact opposite has occurred, because...

Using "the exact opposite" doesn't sound appropriate for this type of letter. At least it doesn't to me.

Is using "the exact opposite" in this formal context appropriate? If not, what other phrasing would you consider using instead?

closed as primarily opinion-based by FumbleFingers, choster, Edwin Ashworth, tchrist, Ellie Kesselman Sep 20 '14 at 0:16

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  • 3
    What's the problem with "the exact opposite"? It's neither vulgar nor particularly informal in tone. – Erik Kowal Sep 19 '14 at 3:18
  • However they appear to have fallen well short of their goal – Jim Sep 19 '14 at 4:21

It seems to me the exact opposite is just fine. You could also say quite the opposite, which might sound just a smidge better.


If you want to do some more writing... you can replace the "opposite" with what makes the case "exactly opposite."
Or you can remove the phrase entirely and go with something like this. "However, instead of doing what it intends... it does this"

You can go with the following to replace your "exact opposite" line

  • "On the contrary"
  • "Instead"

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