Formal vs. Informal Vocabulary

Formal vs. Informal Language

Informal words and expressions: Do no use in formal writing Instead,
around to mean “about” (“We have problems around some things he said.” We have problems about/with some things he said.
buy something, meaning to agree with it. (“I buy his opinion.”) I agree with his opinion
etc., so on Either leave these out or replace them with the exact information you have in mind. When you use these expressions you are telling the reader, “You know what I am talking about, so I don’t have to tell you.” It is an important characteristic of formal writing that you don’t assume that the reader knows what you are taking about unless you say it.
for sure “certainly” or “definitely”
great to mean “good” “very good,” “excellent,” “wonderful”
got to “have to” or “must”
got in “I got an idea.” “I have an idea.”
guy man or person
in the day, back in the day in the past, or the specific time you mean–“a hundred years ago”
kid child
Like Merlo said .. As Merlo said …  (In formal written English, do not use “like” as a subordinator.)
O.K. all right
mess with interfere with, make trouble for, create difficulties for
plus to mean “and” or “also” Use “and” or “also.”
stuff as a noun things, or name the specific things you are talking about (The verb stuff is all right in formal English.)
tons of, a ton of a lot of, a great many
totally to modify a verb, as in “I totally think …” “I feel very strongly that …” In formal English, use totally only to modify an adjective – “He was totally confused.”
“u” to mean you, “r” to mean are These abbreviations of frequently used words should be used when texting and at no other time.
Well, …” to introduce a topic Think of a sentence that will introduce your topic to the reader.
whatever, meaning “something” (“He had to get coffee, cakes and whatever.”) be specific about what you mean: “He had to get coffee, cakes and other snacks.” Formally, “whatever” is an adverbial expression: “I’ll be happy whatever you decide to do.”





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