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Questions tagged [register]

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

2
votes
4answers
16k views

What can replace “consists of”?

For reasons I cannot explain, I hate the phrase consists of. Does anyone have an alternative? An example is: Testing consists of continual operation, alternating between random writes and random ...
0
votes
4answers
270 views

In scientific writing is: Energy expended/ cost /consumed?

In scientific writing, should I write energy is expended, cost or consumed? Which term is preferable? As in the example, Energy is expended/cost/consumed through deformation/vibration/friction.
1
vote
3answers
206 views

'Gone are the days when … ' Is this expression often used?

Is the expression 'gone are the days when ...' often used in everyday English? Or is it something you can see only in books?
1
vote
3answers
31k views

What is the formal way to say “a bit”?

What is the formal way to say a bit in an essay, for example, in the sentence beginning “It is a bit different from”? Is a little formal enough?
23
votes
5answers
75k 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
2k 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.
8
votes
1answer
273 views

A Strange Conditional: “I couldn’t have talked to her that day if I never talked to her again”

In The Great Gatsby, thus pens Fitzgerald: ‘However—I want to see you.’ ‘I want to see you too.’ ‘Suppose I don’t go to Southampton, and come into town this afternoon?’ ‘No—I don’t think this ...
-2
votes
2answers
634 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) ...
3
votes
3answers
151 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? ...
2
votes
2answers
147 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. ...
1
vote
2answers
580 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 ...
29
votes
4answers
1.1m views

Difference between “How are you?” and “How are you doing?”

I've heard a lot of times that there is a major difference between saying: How are you? and How are you doing? Is that true? I've heard one was like an extension of “Hello” and does not mean ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Is the word, “kinda-sorta” accepted as a normal word to be used in writing?

I was drawn to the word, “kinda, sorta” which appeared in the article of Time magazine (April 27) under the headline, “The Clippers Should Have Boycotted Game After Owner’s Racist Remarks”: The ...
3
votes
1answer
78 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
749 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
331 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
388 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?
6
votes
12answers
15k 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/...
26
votes
5answers
12k views

How popular is the word “cromulent”? If I use this word in conversation with native speakers, doesn’t it look out of place?

In today’s post, “What’s the antonym for recommend?” an answerer answered "I discourage the blue sweater sounds perfectly cromulent.” As I am utterly unfamiliar with the word, “cromulent,” I looked ...
0
votes
0answers
1k 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
1k 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
11k 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
93 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
661 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
6k 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
488 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
9k 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?...
4
votes
4answers
69k 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
199 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 ...
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
2answers
3k 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, ...
12
votes
3answers
113k views

Is “pronunciate” a word?

Is "pronunciate" a word? At first it doesn't seem to be, but why not? "Pronunciation" and "pronunciative" seem to be words, so it would seem natural that "pronunciate" would be. After Googling, I ...
0
votes
2answers
22k views

I've finished my studies and currently looking for a job? [closed]

I'm writing my first CV (resume) before applying for some jobs. Is the following sentence grammatically correct? I've finished my studies and currently looking for a job
3
votes
4answers
614 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) ...
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 ...
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?
23
votes
5answers
2k views

Are contractions of “I am” or “I would” rude? [duplicate]

I got edited on Stack Overflow because I used "I'm", "you're" and "I'd" instead of "I am" etc. Is it considered rude to use contractions like that in informal conversations on the internet? I would ...
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: ...
2
votes
2answers
128k 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 ...
1
vote
6answers
7k views

How to say “I don't believe you” in a more academic way? [closed]

How to say "I don't believe you" in a more academic way? I need to say it to my teacher and I do not know how to say it, not to make her mad...
4
votes
1answer
157 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
281 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
920 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
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 ...
0
votes
1answer
3k 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?
-1
votes
3answers
799 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
451 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
608 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
2answers
1k 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 ...