- For Teachers
I have a few questions about formal, informal and slang words.
1. First of all, let's talk about phrasal verbs. Some people say that all phrasal verbs are informal. I have a book from EnglishClub.Com where only a few of them are noted to be informal. The Oxford Dictionary also notes a few phrasal verbs to be informal. So if a phrasal verb in Oxford dicitionary isn't said to be informal, can I use such a verb in formal situations?
2. What is the difference between the informal words and slang words?
3. Could you give me a few situations where formal, informal and slang words should be used?
Let's wait for someone to answer my questions. : )
The difference that I feel is that the slang is more often associated with vulgarity than the informal words and thus requires an even more specific audience for it (probably only the people whom you know very well).
The other difference that I can think of is that there are lots of informal (colloquial) words that are universally undersood; the slang is meant to be more regional (Brittish, American, etc). There is no such thing as 'universal English slang' -- it always pertains to a specific territory or a group of people.
#3. I think it's always up to a speaker to choose what words should be used as the sense of appropriateness is not exactly the same with all the people. Maybe to answer your question you should ask yourself what are the situations in which you would use formal, informal or slang words in Lithuanian. Your answer could apply to any other language.
I agree with the previous poster who gave "get off" vs "alight" as an example. Yes, they mean the same thing but I have never used "I alighted from the bus" in my life nor have I ever heard anyone use it. I have probably read it but only in books written in, or based in, a more historical time. And when you think about it "alight from" is also a phrasal verb!!!
I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.
Phrasal verbs occur less frequently in some formal writing, but I think it's wrong to try to turn this into a rule.