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I said this to one professor when she expressed about her current research work. Later, I realized that that phrase could be very informal.

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    It's somewhere in the middle, edging slightly towards formal. Mar 2, 2017 at 7:52
  • She did what...?? Mar 2, 2017 at 9:06
  • @satnam It was written in an email. ( I should have mentioned it 'responded' ) Mar 2, 2017 at 14:35
  • @Clare She just mentioned in an email about her new research work. She asked me some questions related to the research too. I shall use I'm happy to hear that from now on. Mar 2, 2017 at 14:37
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    The question shouldn’t be on whether it’s formal or informal. Ask yourself why she chose to tell you about her work. It probably wasn’t so you could feel happy about it. She was probably telling you about so you would be interested in her work.
    – Jim
    Aug 10, 2017 at 2:04

3 Answers 3

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It could be either, but it might edge slightly towards "formal". This expression is usually used by polite and well-educated people. This is backed up by some websites.

According to Grammarhow - professional ways to say "I'm glad to hear that":

“I'm glad to hear that” is not informal. It can work in both professional and non-professional circumstances.

According to grammarhow - good to hear vs glad to hear

Glad to hear should be used when speaking on a more personal note, as “glad” is a feeling that we can have towards someone.

Noting this, we can deduce that it is better to use "good to hear", especially on the formal side.

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It's formal enough:

“I’m glad to hear that the EU is moving in that direction,” says Barnes.

Stewart McDonald, the SNP MP for Glasgow South, said: “I’m glad to hear that this has been withdrawn – quite why they thought this would go down well is beyond me.

These both are from MP's or from similar politics environment.

https://lengusa.com/sentence-examples/glad%20to%20hear%20that

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Yes, it's informal. You could consider saying 'I am very pleased to hear that', or 'Congratulations! Very well done', or 'That's fantastic to hear!' or 'That's very impressive considering the minimal time you've had to do it' or 'That's impressive indeed'.

Honestly, I would not worry about it. You have said something nice to this person, so she has no right to become offended just because it was worded informally. I'm sure she won't, though.

As it is, you were very kind indeed to compliment the professor. I'm glad to hear it!

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    It might not be the most formal way of expressing that idea, but it's not informal. Something like "props" or "yay" or "so chuffed for you" would be clearly informal ways of expressing pleasure, praise, or happiness at something. Of your alternatives, "that's fantastic" or "Congratulations" aren't very formal either, although suitable for most contexts.
    – Stuart F
    Apr 15 at 14:45

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