Questions tagged [register]

'Register' is the degree of formality called for in a particular written or spoken context. Very broadly, we distinguish 'formal', 'informal' and 'vulgar' usage in both writing and speech, but finer distinctions may be needed.

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20 views

Is “to be (couple of pages) in” formal or informal?

For example: I lost interest after I had been a couple of pages in. Can we use this sentence in formal situations?
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577 views

Tasty, lovely, delicious, yummy, …?

I know different English words for good tasting foods or drinks: tasty, lovely, delicious, yummy... But unfortunately the dictionary entries do not enable me to decide which one to use in which ...
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3answers
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“sibling” vs “brother/sister”

Are these words interchangeable? I'm especially interested in how formal/informal are they. Is there any difference between American and British usage? The discussion on english-test.net where two ...
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44 views

Teacher said I write in a pompous register? Why? Could you help me understand?

Okay, so I've submitted a proposal to my teacher. I get the part that I've made inaccurately structured sentences, also I understand that I have missed to an extend the point of the given task. But I ...
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54 views

Which of “Will you just go?” or “Can you just go?” works better?

One of my stu­dents barged into my class­room one day and was get­ting on my nerves be­cause I needed to clean up the mess he had him­self made ear­lier, so I wanted to ask him to leave me alone and ...
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Making question

I'd like to know the difference between Why don't you do it? Why do you not do it?" Could you please let me know the differences?
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“Fixing” an error

Open source programmers commonly use the term "to fix" (as in "fixing an error") to mean to correct (eliminate) an error. Is this use of the term "to fix" common outside open source programming (both ...
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4answers
392 views

Difference between -decker, -tier, shelf and level (see picture)

How would you describe the number of shelves of the growing trays in the image below? Four-leveled, four-tier, four-shelf or four-decker? Are all these ways correct and interchangeable?
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What's the meaning of “Not unattractive but getting on”?

Not unattractive but getting on. to get on means: get along to have a good relationship.1 Does it mean: she is attractive but she doesn't set along to have a good relationship? The context of ...
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1answer
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How formal is “Recipe for a disaster”

I heard the following phrase in a podcast: Credit cards are a bit of recipe for a disaster. I want to know if this phrase "recipe for a disaster" is formal enough to use it in a formal writing? Or ...
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“blame me on it”

I have occasionally heard "blame me/them on it" and thought it was a bit jarring. The more common ways, I think, are "blame me/them for it" and "blame it on me/them." Some examples: Alex said in a ...
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“that is” in speech

When "that is" means "in other words," can it be used in colloquial speech? Or is it more suited to a formal register? Does the following sound natural in daily speech? We, that is, my brother and ...
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It's a book of my mother's

If we say: It's a book of my mother's How could this sentence be identified? Wrong, archaic, formal or something else?
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“spot defective goods” or “check products for defects”

Which of the following is more natural? Your job is to check products for defects. Your job is to spot defective goods. I'd appreciate your help.
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4k views

Third Conditionals: “If I knew…” instead of “had known…” in casual register

I know that in the following sentences "If I had known" has to be used in the place of "If I knew" to form the grammatically right sentences. What I really want be sure of is that as a native if all ...
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3answers
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Asking 'the pleasure of your company' in an invitation

This is a great site - I would happily pay for this advice. I must fess up and say I am a native English speaker (albeit an Irish one) but I'm running into trouble wording a party invitation. Is it ...
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“walking recovery in patients who suffered a stroke” or “the recovery of the ability to walk in patients who suffered a stroke”? [closed]

Tell me please which phrasing sounds more natural in the following context: The necessary information can be found in the article with the title WALKING RECOVERY IN PATIENTS WHO SUFFERED A STROKE. ...
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Is “You alright?” (without “are”) acceptable?

I'm having a hard time figuring out which is the correct form of asking this kind of question. I mean speaking strictly, this doesn't sound right: You alright? or You eaten anything? compared to Are ...
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Difference between 'humid' and 'muggy' [closed]

Could you let me know the difference between these two adjectives? In my book they seem to be slightly different(by it's not clearly explained) while on the internet most people say that they've the ...
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3answers
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What's the meaning of “joint” here? [closed]

You have the Diners Club, you sign for it. You go first class in those joints, I know that, yeah." What's the meaning of "joint" here? I checked the O.D. didn't find anything useful...
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Phrasing and word usage

"I'm the best from all the crowd See me deeper and scream loud, Catch good vibes and inspiration Feel the power and my relation" This short lyric is a matter of argument between me and the ...
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1answer
109 views

Difference in meaning between “use”, “employ” and “utilize” [duplicate]

I am confused with the words "use", "employ" and "utilize". What is the difference in their meanings, and where they are supposed to be used? There is another topic with the same question, but it is ...
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543 views

“inclusive of” and “including”

Are "inclusive of" and "including" interchangeable in the following? a. We all liked the show, inclusive of / including Sarah. b. Five passengers were injured in the accident, inclusive of / ...
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“worthy of mention(ing)” or “worthy of a mention(ing)”?

That kind of happening would have definitely been worthy of mention. or That kind of happening would have definitely been worthy of a mention. or That kind of happening would have definitely ...
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2answers
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What does “no more Dutch” mean? “No more words”?

"Red Dead: Redemption" No more Dutch, and no more you. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0zvPMrrps6o 12:15 / 11:40:13
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1answer
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What does “let's shoot the shit” mean?

English lyrics by Halestorm rock band: Here's to us: Get another bottle out Lets shoot the shit //What does it mean? Sit back down For just one more drink, oh yeah In some sites it's translated ...
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“made him” or “made for him”

Ann made (for) him a cup of tea. He drank the tea Ann had made (for) him. Are both sentences correct, with or without "for? If yes, is there any difference in register?
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Use of the conjunction “that” to express an intentional consequence

First an example; just to make clear what I'm referring to. He wrote a note on the calendar, that he might remember to call his friend on his birthday. Meaning: He wrote a note on the calendar, ...
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78 views

Is your coffee bottomless?

Which of the following is more natural for a customer to use at a coffee shop? a. Do you offer free refills on coffee? b. Is your coffee bottomless?
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104k views

“Is it okay for you?” Is this phrase considered formal in school/college setting?

If I emailed my teacher: I've said that I can stay after school to make up the test, but I found out that I have a band rehersal tomorrow. Is it okay for you if I take it on wednesday after school ...
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1answer
75 views

WILL or continuous forms for habits - which is more common?

Which of the following is more common in everyday speech: She is always mumbling to herself when she's reading. She WILL always mumble to herself when she reads. Is that the emphatic WILL (...
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8k views

What's the difference between “veggie” and “vegetable”?

What's the difference between "veggie" and "vegetable"? Can I use them interchangeably? or is there any difference in terms of meaning and usage?
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1answer
53 views

Nuance of infinitive phrase `to stand watch` in the sentence

In the movie "The Hobbit", Erlond tells Gandalf: You are not the only guardian to stand watch over Middle-earth. I'm not sure if there's any nuance with the use of the form to stand watch. If I ...
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apropos — is this a common word in English?

apropos Is this word part of your active or passive vocabulary? Do you ever use it at all? If yes, could you please give me some real-world examples related to how one would use this word in ...
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2answers
286 views

omitting “that” is “so … that …”

Is it considered informal to omit "that" in "so ... that ..."? What would style guides say about the following? John is so intelligent (that) he can learn any language in two months. If this ...
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2answers
213 views

Can't we say “don't/doesn't got” while we can say “I got”, “He got”, “They got” etc.? (American English)

I am used to hearing the positive version of "got" when it is used for meaning "have". For example, I mean we can say "I got a car.", "He got three children.", "I got no money." etc. But I am not ...
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4answers
5k views

When is it acceptable to omit the subject “I”?

Have noticed that English speakers omit "I" when they are emailing or chatting: How are you doing? Am fine. Also, this occurs often in daily/weekly reports. Have seen quite a few of them, ...
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2answers
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Can the adverb “exclusively” in the sentence be replaced with an adjective without changing the meaning of the sentence?

I came across this sentence in an online article. Some medical literature has found that exclusively breastfeeding during the first four to six months of life may decrease your baby’s risk of ...
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114k views

“You are” vs. “you're” — what is the difference between them?

“You are” vs. “you're” — what is the difference between them? I get confused between the two a lot. I want to understand how to use them appropriately, because I hate making mistakes.
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341 views

A word denoting something taking place for the last time in an indefinitely large series

I've been looking for the word denoting something taking place for the latest time in an indefinitely large series, for example, the solar eclipse occurring for the______ th(?) time from the beginning ...
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“How much are you into us for already?”

I am confused about a line from the movie Kingpin: Ernie: All right, let's go. Thank you for the education, gentlemen. We've just received a PhD in stupidity. (to Roy) Doctor, shall we? Roy: ...
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Godspeed as a way of saying goodbye

There are a couple of movies I heard actors using Godspeed as a way to say goodbye. At least I interpreted it this way. I though never heard anyone use this expression in the UK, Ireland, Australia, U....
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Use of the word bestow

If we see the language in its natural pace and flow which of the following sound better? May God bestow sincerity upon me! or May God make me become sincere! or May I become sincere!
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What is the difference between “likelihood” and “probability”?

What is the difference between "likelihood" and "probability"? Iv'e check the dictionaries for that questions and it seems that there's no a difference. Cambridge dictionary even call them clearly ...
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3answers
8k views

What is the difference between someone and somebody? [closed]

Should I say: [•] I'm thinking about someone. Or [•] I'am thinking about somebody.
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2k views

Bowed down at / before / in front of the altar

Which is the correct preposition to use here from the options given in title ? He bowed down ______ altar. I have mentioned three options here though I had 4 options in the question. I managed ...
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meaning of the phrase “amped up on” in context

It is from Crash Course A&P. It is at 1 minute and 23 second. Here is the context: But even when they are functioming well, some of your immune cells are careening around your body like ...
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441 views

The usage of “see”

Are the following sentences grammatical? The summer of 2000 saw me in a research project at a museum in Africa. The summer of 2000 saw me doing a research project at a museum in Africa. The ...
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2k views

“People persons” versus “people people”

A People person is someone who is outgoing and has good communication skills. He was always energetic and positive and he was a people person. What is the plural of "people person"? I am ...
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210 views

Why was “wise advisor” better than “savvy person”?

See Question 10 in the image. He was to be loyal to his lord, courageous in his defense, and a (10) savvy person. Basically, he was to be a man of honor, who would stay true to his Christian faith ...