The difference between formal English and informal English

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Anonymous

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:?: I'm new in London and I don't know very much about how to use formal English well and the diffenerce between formal English and informal English.could sb give me some information about it,or give me a webpage or a website to find the differences between them.
Thank you very much!
 

dduck

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Re: The difference between formal English and informal Engli

Penguin said:
:?: I'm new in London and I don't know very much about how to use formal English well and the diffenerce between formal English and informal English.could sb give me some information about it,or give me a webpage or a website to find the differences between them.
Thank you very much!

This is worth a read:

http://website.lineone.net/~eshp/styles.htm

Iain
 

Tdol

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Here's one of the standard reference guides to style:
http://www.bartleby.com/141/

It's a very big subject, but here are a few pointers:
Formal language doesn't use contractions.
formal language uses fewer phrasal verbs.
It uses more vocabulary derived from French and Latin (bigger words, basicall)
It uses more past tenses (remote forms) of modal auxialiries. A formal instruction may well use 'should' instead of 'must.
It uses more indirect language- the passive is more common, making it less personal.
It uses more synonyms and doesn't repeat the same vocab as much.
It is better organised and thought out.

Here's one of my favourite articles about the language by one of its great writers:
http://cscs.umich.edu/~crshalizi/Orwell/politics_and_english.html

Hope that helps ;-)
 

Tdol

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Inforaml English:

uses contractions and changes words a lot in connected speech

uses slang and forms that might be wrong in formal English

is used mainly in spoken language, but also in emails (except many professional ones) and a lot of fiction
 

Tdol

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Re: The difference between formal English and informal Engli

Penguin said:
:?: I'm new in London and I don't know very much about how to use formal English well and the diffenerce between formal English and informal English.could sb give me some information about it,or give me a webpage or a website to find the differences between them.
Thank you very much!

In betwen the two, there's semi-formal English, which could be used in the media, for instance, which generally follows the grammar of formal English, but may use contractions, etc, and less formal vocabulary. ;-)
 
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click

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Re: The difference between formal English and informal Engli

tdol said:
In betwen the two, there's semi-formal English, which could be used in the media, for instance, which generally follows the grammar of formal English, but may use contractions, etc, and less formal vocabulary. ;-)

Could someone give a few examples of contractions, which are most often used in semi-formal language ? :)
 

MikeNewYork

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Re: The difference between formal English and informal Engli

click said:
tdol said:
In betwen the two, there's semi-formal English, which could be used in the media, for instance, which generally follows the grammar of formal English, but may use contractions, etc, and less formal vocabulary. ;-)

Could someone give a few examples of contractions, which are most often used in semi-formal language ? :)

will not = won't
cannot = can't
did not = didn't
do not = don't
I am = I'm
you are = you're
it is = it's
 
C

click

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Thanks for your replies. :)

If I write text and use "it's", then would it be inconsistent or wrong to use "they are" in same text ?
 

Tdol

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Not necessarily. If you are writing a text where you can use contractions, it doesn't mean that you have to. There are good reasons for varying forms- emphasis, etc. ;-)
 

MikeNewYork

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click said:
Thanks for your replies. :)

If I write text and use "it's", then would it be inconsistent or wrong to use "they are" in same text ?

That depends, as TDOL said. I would have to have a reason however, to put both forms in the same sentence.
 
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