To master the English language, you need to know how and when to use formal and informal English.

As in any language, formal English is used in more serious situations, such as job interviews or writing emails to a professional contact. You also use it when you're speaking to someone you don't know very well.

Informal English is used in more casual and relaxed situations. You also use it with people you know very well, such as family and friends.

Here is a list of less formal English words and their formal versions with some sample sentences.

1. also – moreover

Your report is late. It's also bad.
Your report is overdue. Moreover, it's badly written.

2. buy – purchase

I'd like to buy this book.
I would like to purchase this book.

3. end – terminate

We've ended the program.
We have terminated the program.

4. enough – sufficient

I have enough information, thanks!
I have sufficient information. Thank you!

5. get – obtain

You can get more information from the head office.
You may obtain further information from the head office.

6. give – provide

I'll give you all the details.
I will provide you with all the details.

7. need – require

I'll need help when I arrive.
I will require your assistance when I arrive.

8. start – commence

The festival will start with a parade.
The festivities will commence with a parade.

9. let – permit

Please let me post this on my website.
Will you permit me to post this on my website?

10. tell – inform

Please tell Marissa that Mr. Lopez is here.
Please inform Marissa that Mr. Lopez has arrived.

Do you notice the difference in the tone? What other differences did you observe?

We'll write more about formal and informal English next time.

In the meantime, if you want to learn more about it, sign up for online English lessons with us. Our online English teachers can help you understand how and when to use formal and informal English.

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