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I would appreciate if you do me a favor and let me know which structure can be used in polite/formal speech in my following context:

  • Restrictions and punishments there which violate international human rights norms include harsh penalties for crimes, punishment for homosexuality, execution of offenders under legal age, restrictions on freedom of speech and the press (including the imprisonment of journalists), and restrictions on freedom of religion and gender equality in that country are a matter of the day for international media. However, the state of human rights in that country has been criticized both by its people and international human right activists, writers, and NGOs. All being said .......................... that people of that country and the international society do not react to such a government.

a. it's a shame
b. it's much to be regretted that
c. it's so sad that

To me, they all work, but I don't know what structure is used notmally to indicate the speaker's regret when it comes to a polite or formal speech or written context.

I would appreciate it, if you could provide me with a better option if exists for this context.

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The rest of this statement is not really expressing the writer's regret. Rather the writer is editorializing, expressing the opinion that the situation described is bad and should be changed. Any of your suggestions work for that, but I would avoid C, because in my view the tone doesn't quite fit. The writer is not so much expressing his or her own emotions, but trying to still the reader to condemn the situation. The use of "sad" doesn't really fit that as well.

choice B is more formal, and also more wordy, than A. That is a style choice.

Other possible phrases:

d. it is unfortunate e. it is outrageous f. it is to be deplored g. it passes understanding

Also "polite" is not really what the writier is aiming at here. The goal is rather to be 'persuasive" or "eloquent".


There are some other problems with this text. The first sentence

Restrictions and punishments there which violate international human rights norms include harsh penalties for crimes, punishment for homosexuality, execution of offenders under legal age, restrictions on freedom of speech and the press (including the imprisonment of journalists), and restrictions on freedom of religion and gender equality in that country are a matter of the day for international media. However, the state of human rights in that country has been criticized both by its people and international human right activists, writers, and NGOs.

is run-on and overly long. The transition from the list of "Restrictions and punishments ... which violate international human rights norms" to the specific comment on "freedom of religion and gender equality" is awkward. "A matter of the day" is not a standard phrase, and does not quite work in this construction. "All being said" would be better as "All that being said" or "Considering these issues". The whole text might be recast as:

Restrictions and punishments in country X which violate international human rights norms include: harsh penalties for crimes, punishment for homosexuality, execution of offenders under legal age, restrictions on freedom of speech and the press (including the imprisonment of journalists), and restrictions on freedom of religion and gender equality. These issues, particularly on religion and gender equality, have been a matter of recent negative comment in the international media. The overall state of human rights in that country has been criticized both by its people and international human right activists, writers, and NGOs.Considering all this, it is very unfortunate that people of that country and the international society do not react more strongly to such a government.

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  • Uh, thank you very much @David Siegel for the comprehensive response. Just, what would you choose yourself if you were supposed to express your own regret from among the choices a, b, d, e, f, and g? Would you choose "d" as you wrote in your answer to the question?
    – A-friend
    Aug 6, 2019 at 17:01
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    @A-friend I personally might well chose f or g. I like the word "deplore" but that is a matter of personal style. g is more of a comment on what other people have done or rather not done, and might fit with the persuasive intent here, particularly if the text continues into a stronger call for action. It would depend on the tone I wanted to express in the rest of the text, and on my mood of the day.
    – David Siegel
    Aug 6, 2019 at 17:05
  • Do they all have more or less a similar meaning with just a slight difference in tone and regret strength @David Siegel? Also, Ngram shows that 'a' and 'f' are the most popular phrases among this list.
    – A-friend
    Aug 6, 2019 at 17:09
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    @A-friend a, b, c, d and f have basically similar meanings, with differences in tone and strength. e emphasizes not regrest, even formal regret, but anger that people do not condemn the government that does these things. g says "I don't understand why people do not condemn..." and so is somewhat like e. The problem with Ngram in this sort of case is that these phrases may also be used in very different contexts, and Ngram will not make that distinction.
    – David Siegel
    Aug 6, 2019 at 17:13

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