Tips to help you master a formal language

When learning English, it is very important to work out when and how to use formal language.

Informal language is usually in a casual context. Informal language may use abbreviations, contractions, emojis, and slang. We use it in our everyday communication with friends and family.

However, formal language is used mostly in writing and in speeches or presentations. We use it in serious situations that include people we do not know well, when applying for a job, writing emails at work,  writing essays for school, etc…

Here are some tips to help you master a formal language:

  1. If you want to make your speech or writing more formal, the first thing to do is to replace contractions with non-contracted versions of the words. Instead of “isn’t,” “she’s,” or  “couldn’t,” say/write “is not”, “she is” or “could not”.

Informal: She couldn’t possibly attend the meeting.

Formal: She could not possibly attend the meeting.

2. Avoid abbreviated versions of words such as TV, phone, photo, etc. Rather go for television, telephone, and photograph instead.

3. The formal language will not use slang terms and colloquialisms.

Don’t say: The chick was so drunk that she couldn’t stand on her feet.

Say: The woman/lady had too much alcohol so she could not conduct herself.

4. Avoid phrasal verbs in your academic writing. Although their usage is quite common in normal conversations and it makes your speech sound more natural, formal context is not an adequate place for them. So, instead of a multi-word phrasal verb, use a one-word verb.

Don’t say: The scientists found out a solution to environmental pollution.

Say: The scientists discovered a solution to environmental pollution.

5. Avoid first-person pronouns such as ‘I’ or ‘We’. Try and replace them with “One,” “the reader,” “the viewers”.

Don’t say: We can see the actor is confused.

Say: The viewers can see the actor is confused.

Remember that the tone of a formal context is more serious, while the tone of an informal context is more personal and spontaneous.

Happy writing!


Why is learning of Business English so important today?

English is an international language, approximately quarter of the world population speaks English as a native or second language. Business English is the general term used for English related to international commerce, finance and industry. In the global environment, it has become common for non-native English speakers to study Business English as a specific tool, with the aim of interacting with English-speaking countries, or with companies that use English. For this reason, Business English is what one is required in order to join, communicate and compete in the international market. This is why the importance of good Business English can no longer be underestimated in the age of the new global business market.

Studying Business English teaches us the vocabulary to use in business and working world. Learning the corporate speak, we also learn how to do things like business writing and reports, how to prepare and give presentations, and conduct meetings. Learning of Business English also includes writing letters and emails, applying for positions and understanding job profiles.

The English language is currently estimated as the third largest mother tongue in the world. However, it is unquestionably the first and most popular second language. In fact, most of the information that circulate in our world – mail, radio, cable, internet, etc. – are in English. It has become the bridge language of our time. Therefore, it is no wonder that English has developed to become a lingua franca for business around the world. English unites people and companies from different backgrounds, countries and languages and allows them to communicate in a clear and effective way. That is why Business English is so important to study.