Formal and Informal English Words

What is the difference between formal and informal English words/ phrases? Actually, there are no specific definitions about formal and informal words/phrases. But, formal and informal English words/phrases can be identified based on the tips below:

  1. More read.  You will learn to associate certain words and phrases with different types of writing.
  2. Most uses of “get” are informal.
  3. In general – phrasal verbs are informal.
  4. Contractions are always informal.
  5. Many idioms are informal.
  6. Most shortened words are informal.
  7. If you have a dictionary that provides the etymology of a word, Latin and French root words usually are more formal than Germanic or old English root words.

There are a lot of differences between formal and informal English. These differences make us more understand that language is large, very unique and important to learn.

Formal and Informal English

Formal and Informal English Words List

  • Ask for – Request
  • Come after – Follow
  • Come up to – Reach/attain
  • Deal with – Manage
  • Go before – Precede
  • Go out of – Exit
  • Lead to – Cause
  • Look at – Regard
  • Look for – Seek
  • Look into – Investigate
  • Look like – Resemble
  • Put up with – Tolerate
  • Refer to – Consult
  • Settle for – Choose
  • Speak to – Address
  • Talk about – Discuss/consider
  • Think about – Consider/ponder
  • Think of – Conceive
  • Wait for – Await
  • Really big – Considerable
  • Lively – Energetic
  • Whole – Entire/complete
  • Exceptional – Marvelous
  • Break down – fail/collapse
  • Break off – Suspend/adjourn
  • Break up – Disintegrate
  • Bring in – Introduce
  • Come back – Return
  • Come/go in – Enter
  • Get away – Escape
  • Go ahead – Proceed
  • Go away – Leave/depart
  • Give/bring back – Return
  • Give in – Yield
  • Give out – Distribute
  • Give up – Quit
  • Link up – Connect
  • Make out – Discern
  • Make up – Invent
  • Put/set down – Deposit
  • Set out (1) – Display
  • Set out (2) – Depart
  • Take away – Remove
  • Throw away – Discard
  • Throw out – Eject
  • Blow up – Explode
  • Break down – Fail/collapse
  • Hungry – Famished
  • Tired – Fatigued
  • Faithfulness – Fidelity
  • Hopeless – Futile
  • Go before – Precede
  • Enjoyment – Gratification
  • Thanks – Gratitude
  • Funny – Humorous, amusing
  • Childish – Immature
  • Better – Improved
  • Worse – Inferior
  • Put in – Insert
  • Make up – Invent
  • Can – Is capable of
  • Tons of, heaps of – Large quantities of, a number of
  • Keep up – Maintain properly
  • Could – Might be able to
  • Plus/also – Moreover/futhermore
  • Lots of/ a lot of – Much, many
  • Anyways – Nevertheless
  • A lot of – Numerous
  • From (company) – On the behalf of
  • Let – Permit
  • Put off – Postpone
  • Take out – Remove
  • Mend – Repair
  • Look like – Resemble
  • House – Residence
  • Keep – Retain
  • Call on – Visit
  • Try out – Test
  • Drop out of – Withdraw (from)

Example Sentences

Examples of Formal English Phrases

  1. Notice in cafe: Only food purchase (=bought) here may be eaten on the premises.
  2. Police statement: I apprehended (=caught) the accused outside the supermarket.
  3. Theatre announcement: They play will commence (=start) in the two minutes.
  4. Business meeting: The meeting will resume (=start again) this afternoon at 2 pm.
  5. Lawyers in court: My client had a broken ankle, thus (=so) he couldn’t drive the car.
  6. Business letterI regret to inform you (I’m sorry to say) that we are unable to… (=can’t).
  7. Notice: If you require (=need) further assistance (more help) please contact…
  8. Airport announcement: Will passenger for Miami please proceed to (=go to) gate

Examples of Informal English Phrases

  1. I had to go and pick up (=collect) the kids (=children) from school.
  2. reckon (=think) we’ll get (=receive/obtain) the money pretty (=quite) soon.
  3. I’m just going to the loo. (=toilet).
  4. Do you fancy going out? (= Would you like to go out?)
  5. I managed to fix up (=arrange/make) an appointment for 7.30.
  6. My flat is very handy for the shops. (near the shop and very convenient)
  7. I thought the book was terrific. (=marvelous)
  8. Most of the students are bright (=intelligent) but Paul is very thick. (=stupid)
  9. What’s up? (=what’s the matter?)
  10. We must get in touch with them (=contact them) very soon.
  11. When we get to (=reach/arrive) the hotel, I’ll have a word with (=speak to) them.
  12. I offered him ten quid (=pounds) but the gay (=man) wasn’t interested.
  13. A: Here’s the book I promised you. / B: Oh, cheers (=thank you. It can also mean good bye.)

Formal and Informal English – Images

Formal and Informal English Words | Infographic 1

Formal and Informal English WordsPin

Formal and Informal English Words | Infographic 2

Formal and Informal English WordsPin

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mashal harifal
mashal harifal
5 years ago

respected sir.
i want to this phersal verb on my email.if you sande me .then i can take profit.

5 years ago

I offered him ten quid (=pounds) but the gay (=man) wasn’t interested the word must be guy not gay

2 years ago
Reply to  john

fuck the hell up. no one care about you. i hade to shit my pants beause of u

4 years ago

This is why i always use google translate when my collage email me.

3 years ago

How do I recognize the difference? Many seem the opposite, nor just here but other sites’ examples. Who decides, a committee, personal opinion, is it situational? Thanks!

3 years ago
Reply to  John

“not. 😜

2 years ago
Reply to  John

what a guy you are john

Sammy Sammy
Sammy Sammy
2 years ago

It was really helpful…….

2 years ago
Reply to  Sammy Sammy


2 years ago


2 years ago
Reply to  husnaa

thanks guys