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Questions about English registers, broadly defined as variations of the language used for specific tenors, media (modes), and domains (fields).

-2
votes
2answers
34 views

which group I belong to vs to which group I belong [duplicate]

I don't know which group I belong to. I don't know to which group I belong. Which one of the sentences is true? Note: An answer was given to this question when it still read "I don't know (to) ...
2
votes
2answers
129 views

Elon Musk’s “thanks for being awesome”

In a recent open letter to “everybody”, famous visionary entrepreneur Elon Musk uses the closing statement “Thanks for being awesome” (emphasis mine): From: Elon Musk To: Everybody Subj. ...
3
votes
1answer
72 views

Be we all here?

The passage below is taken from Life's Little Ironies by Thomas Hardy. My question concerns "Now be we all here?". I understand that it means "Now are we all here?". The writer might have left the ...
2
votes
1answer
303 views

How do you differentiate between “in order to”, “so as to”, “so that” and “to”?

When we use the phrases so as to, in order to, and so that, we simply mean with the aim or purpose of doing something. The first two phrases are always followed by an infinitive to. Will I not be ...
3
votes
1answer
113 views

Is “pls” considered unprofessional?

Any where I talk to people on messages, emails, chats, etc... I find people tend to use the word "pls" instead of "please". Even my phone company texts me automatically saying "Pls call 321, You have ...
3
votes
3answers
144 views

“She wanted out of this dump.” What is the grammatical function of “out of this dump”?

I came across a line in a movie. She wanted out of this dump. She wanted to start a new life. It seems the sentence is missing to get/be/go. Is the sentence grammatical as it currently stands? ...
0
votes
1answer
237 views

Which is more correct: “preferred that he do” or “preferred him to do”? [duplicate]

I would like to know which form of this question is “more correct” than the other: What would you have preferred (that) he do? What would you have preferred him to do?
1
vote
2answers
283 views

Pronunciation of the word 'negotiate' with an /s/

So, I've heard this one a couple of times so far, especially in formal contexts on BBC Radio 4 and other tv/radio stations. OED states you can only say it this way — /nɪˈgəʊʃɪeɪt/, providing no other ...
6
votes
12answers
9k views

A fancier way of saying, “I'm not a fan of…”

I am looking for synonyms–the more ‘fanciful’ the better–of "not a fan" as in I'm not a fan of his, but give the man a break! The expression, “I'm not a fan of his/her” or “I'm no fan of his/...
0
votes
0answers
787 views

What is a professional way of saying “I''m not trying to badger you”, or similar

In my business, I often have to follow up with my clients via email. If it's been a long time, I'll often want to say something like this: I'm trying to balance attentiveness with not (badgering, ...
-1
votes
2answers
852 views

What’s the origin and history of using the word “stuff” to mean possessions? [closed]

When did the word “stuff” come to be used as casually as it is used today? I’m looking for an historical date for the sense meaning possessions.
1
vote
2answers
7k views

Formal writing: “…for my colleagues and {I/me/myself}.”?

I'm currently using Cambridge English Advanced 1. It's a book that contains past examination papers, and includes numerous samples of authentic writing. This material helps, candidates and teachers, ...
3
votes
1answer
88 views

Can it ever be acceptable to use singular “they” with a specific referent of known but undisclosed gender?

I am not sure whether these two examples using singular they to refer to a specific, singular referent are acceptable in educated speech: I had a friend in Paris, and they had to visit the doctor for ...
1
vote
0answers
459 views

Is when're a proper contraction of “when are”? [closed]

I've seen that no contractions are used in formal writing. I believe "when're" tries to represent spoken casual English when it would sound like "when-er". Is "when're" ok in an informal text? For ...
1
vote
0answers
4k views

Can I use the phrase 'nigh-on-impossible' in a report?

I'm currently writing an academic report and I began to write out the phrase 'nigh-on-impossible' without a second thought. It then occurred to me that this phrase may actually be slang. I did a ...
0
votes
1answer
6k views

“Dear Madam / Sir” vs. “Dear All” [duplicate]

When writing a letter to officials you don't know the sex of, do you say Dear Madam / Sir or Dear All? How do you avoid the fact that you don't know the sex of the official(s) to whom you are writing?...
3
votes
2answers
149 views

“Heaps” or “heap” as an adverb

According to the Oxford dictionary online (ODO), "heaps" is an adverb meaning a great deal. But in Gone with the Wind, there is this sentence, containing "heap," most likely meaning the same thing ...
6
votes
4answers
383 views

The first “topless” man

For years, men who bared their torsos in public were said to be bare-chested or shirtless, but recently I keep seeing more and more topless men; not in my part of the world, unfortunately, but in ...
3
votes
3answers
3k views

What does “Honor this in the breach” mean?

The text below is from a book for engineers whose content is unimportant: the purpose of my question is only to understand, "honor this in the breach". I searched this expression on the Internet, but ...
3
votes
4answers
488 views

Is there a formal way of saying 'hog'? [closed]

The term hog, as defined below, is an informal word. 1.3 informal A greedy person. ‘Our King was, in a simple statement, a greedy, power-hungry covetous hog.’ (Oxford Dictionaries) ...
4
votes
1answer
154 views

What is this US accent found so often in instructional videos?

What is this accent or register? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0E4PX3e3RE It seems to me to include extensive creaky voice a broad range of pitch rising question intonation This question is not ...
3
votes
1answer
254 views

Describing Social Status in the 1920's

I am looking for ways to say "low class" and "high class" that would be used in the 1920's on the East Coast of the U.S. I am writing a story narrated by a young girl who is very class-conscious and ...
4
votes
4answers
714 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
2k views

How should you wish happy birthday to the (British) Queen? [closed]

(As it's the Queen's 90th Birthday today) What is considered a polite way to wish the Queen a happy birthday? Is 'Happy birthday' too informal?
3
votes
2answers
2k 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 Also, ...
-1
votes
3answers
678 views

Adjectives that describe the language used in a literary text [closed]

In order to analyse a poem, I often need to comment on the diction used. So far, I've been using words, such as colloquial, everyday,simple. Could you provide some adjectives that describe the ...
10
votes
3answers
442 views

Does “show” for “put in an appearance; arrive” sound any more or less informal/slack than “show up” in modern day English?

Is there a difference in register between saying: He failed to show for his appointment When will the bus show? -and- He failed to show up for his appointment When will the bus show ...
2
votes
2answers
950 views

Is “from all over” ok in a formal text?

Context: academic, resume-like document detailing a person's achievements. "The institute has attracted people from all over the University" Does the above sound okay, or is the "from all over" an ...
1
vote
2answers
166 views

Is “play it safe” informal register?

On a rather formal ecommerce website I am talking about safety features a product has which competitors are lacking. The customer is considered business-like, and not as a buddy. Play it safe. [Our ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Is “should” appropriate for polite requests?

I am placing request to a customer for a project and I want him to provide some information. I had worked with them in a previous assignment and they failed to provide me most of the details ...
0
votes
1answer
2k views

“I would like to be sent something” “Could I be sent something” [closed]

Are these sentences grammatically correct? I would like to be sent some information on your hotel facilities. Could I please be sent some information on your hotel facilities? Which of these is a ...
0
votes
2answers
107 views

A more polite expression than “minor languages”

I am translating a text to English for a university describing a program aimed at multicultural literacy: Students acquire minor languages in addition to English. The above translation is no doubt ...
2
votes
1answer
4k views

What's the proper and formal way of asking “Didn't we used to do …”? [duplicate]

I saw it used in an article online, and it doesn't seem proper to me because of the two past tenses used together. But since "use to" can't be used here, I don't know what would be the proper way. ...
-1
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
129 views

Is `bonny' neutral register?

Dictionary definitions of `bonny' admit to chiefly British (or even Scots), but give no further hint of the possible tinges of this word. Bonny (adj.) means attractive, fair; fine, excellent [M-W]. ...
1
vote
2answers
128 views

Proper usage of “bogus”

I know what bogus means, but I don't know if it is appropriate to use it in certain formal contexts. Specifically, I'm working on a grant application and I found myself writing the following sentence. ...
0
votes
3answers
790 views

How do you denote written slang?

I want to use a slang term to make a sentence rhyme, but I want it known that I know how to spell it correctly. For example: Tennessee is where I wanna be.
4
votes
4answers
61k views

What's an alternative for “hidden gem”?

Hidden gems is an idiom which means something which is extremely outstanding and not many people may know about; for example, Blame It on Rio by Stanley Donen is a good movie, but relatively unknown ...
2
votes
2answers
109k views

What is a word similar to FYI but not objective/neutral [closed]

FYI can be used in an email to inform the person reading the email about some information. It is comfortable using this between peers. But what if the mail is intended to inform someone higher in the ...
6
votes
5answers
1k views

How toffee-nosed is “toffee-nosed”?

Not being a speaker of British English, I was much amused on discovering the new adjective toffee-nosed. The American Heritage dictionary doesn't list it at all, but I found a definition in Collins: ...
0
votes
1answer
2k views

Time period in a date period [closed]

I want to mention the date and time I collected my questionnaires in an academic report. Let's say they are distributed: Time period: 1:00PM - 4:00PM Date period: 1 October 2014 - 3 October ...
11
votes
7answers
3k views

Is “to boil down” formal enough to be used in scientific writing? [closed]

The phrase to boil down to something can be found in most dictionaries. However, to me, it sounds colloquial to write Finding an exact solution to Eq. 1 boils down to ... A real-life example ...
0
votes
1answer
492 views

“with” vs “to have”

I have a tendency to say things like: It was nice with cake. Usually it's in the form of: It was adjective with noun. whereas my wife is always correcting me to: It was nice to have cake. ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Contractions: Are “I would’ve” and “I’d have” both equally permissible?

Instead of “I would have done something”, are both of these versions ok? I would’ve done something. I’d have done something.
11
votes
1answer
8k 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. — ...
3
votes
3answers
6k 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

Difference beween requests “can”, “could” and “may”? [duplicate]

We can use can, could, and may for requests and permissions, but is there any difference between the meanings of the following three versions? May I go? Can I go? Could I go?
2
votes
2answers
541 views

Words with multiple allowable pronunciations

Long time listener, first time caller. I was chatting with some friends, and GIF and nuclear came up. GIF is pretty unique, we considered, as we allow both /dʒɪf/ and /gɪf/ for its pronunciation. ...
14
votes
4answers
4k views

Is “Ur-moment” a normal English expression?

The New York Times article of this past July 29th titled, “The D.O. Is In Now: Osteopathic Schools Turn Out Nearly a Third of All Med School Grads,” features the growing popularity of the Touro ...
3
votes
1answer
5k 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 ...