I know from here a couple of good alternatives for "to cut/make the long story short", I'm just curious if it is formal to use it or not.

  • 1
    This expression can be used in both formal AND informal forms of speech.
    – Karlomanio
    Apr 23, 2019 at 14:49
  • 1
    Neither. It's just like "to be in a hurry" or "to get rid of something". Formal/Informal doesn't apply here, which means they can be used in any situation.
    – Centaurus
    Apr 23, 2019 at 15:38
  • 1
    The indefinite article is important to the idiom. The idiom is "to make a long story short," not "to make the long story short." Apr 23, 2019 at 15:52
  • 1
    I would only use it in informal conversation, or certain types of writing, such as a chatty magazine article. Apr 23, 2019 at 16:20

2 Answers 2


It is an idiomatic expression (cliche - thanks @Accumulation) and, though it is polite, it is not formal in the sense that it would be out of place in, for example, a business proposal.

But that is contextual, since it would be acceptable to use the expression in diplomatic speeches.

It is somewhat casual and somewhat familiar. It might be in place in a testimony, but it would not be appropriate in a legal document.

All about context.

"To cut a long story short" would be even more casual.

  • It's not really idiomatic. Its meaning is transparent from the constituent words. So more of a cliche than an idiom. Apr 23, 2019 at 19:03
  • 1
    good one. updatged
    – Carly
    Apr 23, 2019 at 19:36

long story short is in the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus. Legal documents are full of their own idioms so I wouldn't bar it based on that. Remember that idioms often don't translate well (into other languages) and are often opaque to non-native speakers so know your audience.

  • Just to clarify, I view "long story short, ..." as reasonably formal. Apr 23, 2019 at 22:07

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.