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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).

23
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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 ...
5
votes
5answers
29k views

Why is “ain't” not listed in dictionaries?

Google finds 52,000,000 matches for ain't but non-natives simply can't look up this word. Wiktionary isn't helpful. Is it some kind of 'wildcard' for "am/is/are not"?
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 ...
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 ...
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, ...
10
votes
5answers
2k views

Is it okay to say and write “ain't” yet?

Over 10 years ago saying "ain't" was discouraged but it was gaining momentum. What happened? Seems like it's still discouraged. Maybe in another 10 years?
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Is “nowadays” the same as “today”?

When helping an Italian speaker with her written homework, a cover letter, I told her to change the expression nowadays to that of today. Her original sentence was the following: I would be ...
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?
4
votes
3answers
73k views

“Given that” vs. “Granted that”

Understanding that "given that" and "granted that" are both used to mark the premise of an argument (or conditions that are assumed to be true), and the actual meaning is almost identical, I have to ...
1
vote
2answers
585 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
9k 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. — ...
7
votes
3answers
50k views

Is there a plural of “metropolis”, not “metropolises”, that would sound better in a less formal register?

I am aware that the plural of metropolis is metropolises, but to me it sounds stilted and to be honest I cannot recall ever hearing it used. Is there an irregular plural of metropolis that would be ...
2
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
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 ...
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?