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. Formal language will not use slang terms and colloquialisms.

Don’t say: The chick grabbed her coat and rushed out of the room.

Say: The woman/lady fetched her coat and hurriedly left the room.

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.

 

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Adverbs of Time

LATER

Adverbs of time later is usually placed at the end or beginning of a sentence.

I will call you later.

Later, we went to the zoo.

It can also be placed after the main verb and usually has a function of comparative.

Our mail arrived later than usual.

YET

YET is primarily used in negative and interrogative sentences. It is normally placed at the end of a sentence.

I haven’t had my breakfast yet.

Daren hasn’t gone to the dentist’s yet.

Have you finished your homework yet?

Have they decided about the wedding date yet?

YET can also be used in positive sentences to talk about a future possibility.

We might yet be able make a deal with them.

Things could yet improve in the company.

STILL

The adverb STILL is used to describe something that is happening continuously.

Tom is still thinking about moving to Corsica.

They are still not sure whether to continue with the project.

It can also be used with the modal verbs may, might, can, and could to describe something that was a possibility in the past, and which could possibly happen in the future.

We can still catch the 5.15 train.

I could still make it up to you.

FOR & SINCE

We use FOR & SINCE when we talk about how long something happens.

We use FOR  with a time phrase that specifies a length of time.

I have been waiting for two hours.

Lorna has been studying English for five years.

We have lived here for 20 years.

We use SINCE with a specific point in time.

I haven’t eaten anything since 8 o’clock.

Bill has put on weight since he started working in that bakery.

They have been married since 2012.

 

 

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.

Any Longer vs Any More vs No Longer

Any longer and any more (or anymore) are synonyms.

When we use any longer or any more, we need to use don’t/doesn’t because the adverbs express a negative relationship with time. It is also important that we put them at the end of the sentence.

However, when we use no longer, it comes between the subject and the verb. Unlike any longer and any more, it is used in positive sentences because it makes the sentence negative.

Examples:

I don’t drink coffee any longer.

I don’t drink coffee anymore.

I no longer drink coffee.

Especially and Specially

 Especially and specially are adverbs.

Especially means more than usual, most of all, in particular.

Judith likes chocolate, especially the dark one.

I like tea, especially the green tea.

He’s usually tired in the evening, but he was especially tired this evening.

Specially is used to talk about particular purpose or way of something.

This dress was specially tailored for Jane.

They ordered boots specially for her.

The pigs are specially trained to locate the truffles.

Latin Abbreviations in English

I’m sure most of you are familiar with Latin abbreviations use in English. There are many of them but I’ll try to explain most frequently used ones.

e.g. (exampli gratia)

We use “e.g.” for giving specific examples.

Ex:  I feel like eating something sweet, e.g. ice cream.

i.e. (id est)

This abbreviation is used to explain something clearer.

Ex:  Schools usually don’t work in the summertime, i.e. in July and August.

P.S. (post scriptum)

We add „P.S“. at the end of a letter when we want to write something more.

Ex: P.S. Best wishes to your family.

vs (versus)

This abbreviation basically means „against“. It is used to oppose two different things in competition.

Ex:  The New York’s Knicks vs Chicago Bulls.

cf. (confer)

You can normally see this in a book when the author wants to mention another source that tells about something. It means “refer to…“ or “compare“

Ex: Summer is a great time for outdoor activities (cf. John Smith for various types of summer pastimes).

etc. (et cetera)

This Latin abbreviation is used at the end of a list to show that there are more things included in the list but you don’t want to mention them.

Ex: We often see snails, bugs, birds, etc. in our garden.

et al (et alia)

“et al” usually comes right after a name and it means “and others.” It is used when there are too many names to list, but you still want to give credit to everybody.

Ex:   The method is explained in the work of Johnson et al.