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  1. #1
    coolpro is offline Junior Member
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    Informal words vs Slang

    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?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Informal words vs Slang

    Quote Originally Posted by coolpro View Post
    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?

    Thanks
    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    Good morning, coolpro.

    (1) Here in the United States, so-called phrasal verbs are very commonly used.

    (a) For example: I get off the bus.

    (i) If I said, "I alight from the bus," everyone would laugh like mad.

    Have a nice day!

  3. #3
    coolpro is offline Junior Member
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    Re: Informal words vs Slang

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    Good morning, coolpro.

    (1) Here in the United States, so-called phrasal verbs are very commonly used.

    (a) For example: I get off the bus.

    (i) If I said, "I alight from the bus," everyone would laugh like mad.

    Have a nice day!
    Thanks for your answer. But if I wrote "I get off the bus" in an essay at school, woudn't it be incorrect?

    Thanks.

  4. #4
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Informal words vs Slang

    Quote Originally Posted by coolpro View Post
    Thanks for your answer. But if I wrote "I get off the bus" in an essay at school, woudn't it be incorrect?

    Thanks.
    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    Great question.

    I don't know the answer.

    Here in American schools, I don't think any teacher would say it was "wrong."

    It will be interesting to see what others say.

    Thank you.

  5. #5
    coolpro is offline Junior Member
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    Re: Informal words vs Slang

    Let's wait for someone to answer my questions. : )

  6. #6
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    bhaisahab is offline Moderator
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    Re: Informal words vs Slang

    Quote Originally Posted by coolpro View Post
    Thanks for your answer. But if I wrote "I get off the bus" in an essay at school, woudn't it be incorrect?

    Thanks.
    "I get off the bus at..." is perfectly correct. "I alight from the bus at..." is very formal/old fashioned and rarely used.

  7. #7
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    Re: Informal words vs Slang

    Quote Originally Posted by coolpro View Post
    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?

    Thanks
    #2. Basically, I think they are close and sometimes it may be difficult to tell exactly which is which. I'm sure the language experts/linguists could tell the difference for sure and provide a more in-depth explanation.

    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.

  8. #8
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is online now Moderator
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    Re: Informal words vs Slang

    Quote Originally Posted by coolpro View Post
    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?

    Thanks
    I have never heard of phrasal verbs being considered informal. They are an integral part of the English language. It's true that there is usually another word which means the same thing, which can sometimes be considered "more formal" but that is not to say that the phrasal verb is informal.

    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!!!

  9. #9
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    Re: Informal words vs Slang

    Quote Originally Posted by IHIVG View Post
    .

    There is no such thing as 'universal English slang' -- it always pertains to a specific territory or a group of people.
    This is a great point. You can learn informal words, but if you use slang that isn't part of your natural vocabulary you will sound ridiculous. I don't try to talk like my teenage daughter. I don't try to talk like an urban young man. I don't try to talk like someone from the East End of London. However, all of us probably use many the same informal words without overlapping in our slang.


    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    I have never heard of phrasal verbs being considered informal. They are an integral part of the English language.
    I completely agree! "I consulted a dictionary to ascertain the definition of the word" vs "I looked up the word in the dictionary." The first sounds absurd. The second doesn't sound informal.
    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.

  10. #10
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: Informal words vs Slang

    Phrasal verbs occur less frequently in some formal writing, but I think it's wrong to try to turn this into a rule.

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