Formal and Informal English

Formal language is less personal than informal language....


  • Ask – Enquire

Informal: The interviewer asked me about my future plans.

Formal: The interviewer enquired me about my future plans.

  • Ask for – Request

Informal: You can ask for a free copy of the leaflet.

Formal: You can request a free copy of the leaflet.

  • Book – Reserve

Informal: I’d like to book a table for three for eight o’clock.

Formal: I’d like to reserve a table for three for eight o’clock.

  • Check – Verify

Informal: I’ll leave you to check whether these claims are true.

Formal: I’ll leave you to verify whether these claims are true.

  • Get - Receive

Informal: We got a warm welcome from our hosts.

Formal: We received a warm welcome from our hosts.

  • Give - Provide

Informal: The hospital has a commitment to give the best possible medical care.

Formal: The hospital has a commitment to provide the best possible medical care.

  • Help - Assist

Informal: We are looking for people who would be willing to help in the group's work.

Formal: We are looking for people who would be willing to assist in the group's work.

  • Need - Request

Informal: She need permission to film at the White House

Formal: She requests permission to film at the White House

  • Say sorry - Apologise

Informal: Go and say sorry to her.

Formal: Go and apologize to her.

  • Say hello to - Give my regards to

Informal: Well, say hello to your wife and children.

Formal: Well, give my regards to your wife and children.

  • Tell - Inform

Informal: The leaflet tells customers about healthy eating.

Formal: The leaflet informs customers about healthy eating.

  • Choose - Select

Informal: He hasn't been chosen for the team.

Formal: He hasn't been selected for the team.

  • Begin/Start - Commence

Informal: Once that is completed, the major construction work will begin.

Formal: Once that is completed, the major construction work will commence.

  • Let - Allow

Informal: She didn't let me to live with my kids.

Formal: She didn't allow me to live with my kids.

  • Promise - Assure

Informal: "I can promise you of that", he said.

Formal: "I can assure you of that",  he said.

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Formal and Informal English

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