https://www.duolingo.com/Mohammed_trans

What is the difference between formal and informal English ?

Hello !

I want to know the difference between Formal and Informal English

I had read that the informal ( the English of people ) is the formal English + some slang words !

I have been learning English , I'm at advanced level . How can I also know that I use formal or informal English ?

This is an important question for me , guys

thank you .

1 year ago

36 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/ShyneBrightly

In casual English, we use contractions very often (e.g. can't, I'll, it's) whereas in more formal situations, the full words are used.

We also use words such as gonna for going to, kinda for kind of or cus for because.You'll also hear shortened words or phrases such as 'Sup?' or 'How's it going?' instead of 'How are you'.

If speaking English with a native, you shouldn't expect them to always use proper grammar or speak in full sentences because, often times, they don't bother or can't remember all the rules. You need to listen to natural informal conversations to familiarise yourself with all the words or contractions, which may vary from country to country.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Mohammed_trans

Now I understand ! thank you so much ^^ .

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Starfleet12
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I forgot all the rules, even though Im like a Grammar Nazi in English at school

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/IsakNygren1
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In my academic essays when I write in English I always use cannot or can not instead of can't, or I will instead of I'll.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Hannahviolinist
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Something that the others have not mentioned is that formal English is used a lot more in writing than talking. Formal writing is in reports, essays and research papers in schools and at work and non-fiction work. Informal writing is in the dialogue in fiction books and other writing where native speakers are being quoted. Basically, formal English is not used in everyday talking much unless you are in a business meeting or something of that sort. If you talked formal all the time, people would think you were strange.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MaryBlakely

I'm not sure what you're asking. Is there a specific sentence/phrase you would like to know about?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Landwave

How to greet someone in formal English: "Hello, good day. How are you?"
How to greet someone in informal English: "Yo wad up ma' main homie ya chillin?"
How to curse in formal English: "Blimey!"
How to curse in informal English: " [This content has been removed for obscenities] "

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/idkhbtfm
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Yo waddup fam u funny here some lingots bro

;)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Mohammed_trans

Sorry , I didn't understand !

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Landwave

Thanks

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Judit294350

Formal English uses correct grammar and "posher" words. Informal English has looser grammar (such as using "who" where you should use "whom"), contractions (such as "can't" for "cannot"), and more casual words (eg "gut" for "abdomen"). The next level down would be outright slang. Depending on where it comes from, even as a native English speaker some dialect slang is very difficult to understand.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/_Help

Informal English is basically the way that most English speakers speak day-to-day. Formal English is words like: 'Sir! Are you okay!'

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/garpike
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I'd consider 'okay' to be an informal word.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/KasperinK

Okay became Ok which is now just K. Then Cool was somehow changed to Kewl. So instead of Okay Cool everyone just says KK which means K Kewl. People also tend to slur every word together. Like "I am going to go to TacoBell" now sounds like "Immannagota TacoBell". The G in ING is often left off when talking. So Talk'in, Walk'in, Play'in. Yes is usually replaced with Yeah or Yep. I could go on and on... but the point is English is far from proper anymore.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/garpike
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Actually 'O.K.' came first (the OED says 'the initial letters of oll (or orl) korrect, jocular alteration or colloq. pronunc. of 'all correct', first attested 1839); 'okay' is a respelling to represent the pronunciation of 'o.k.', first recorded in 1919.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3
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A more linguistically descriptive way of phrasing the matter would presumably be that relatively few people have ever routinely spoken in the manner reflected by the established literary standard (even setting aside for a moment all the silent letters and whatnot that were once pronounced).

Adding the "a" in front of verbs (the further reduced "agoing," for example, dates back to at least Middle English). The "omission" of the final "g" is a feature, e.g. of the West Country dialect in England. If the literary standard had been based on that one, we would instead think of posh Londoners "adding" an extra "g."

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MaryBlakely

For instance, if you met an official person at work or something, you would say Hello, Mr. ___. What can I do for you?" But if you saw your friend you'd clap him on the back and say, "What's up, man? It's been a while!"

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Mohammed_trans

Now I understand ! thank you so much ^^ lingots for you

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Mohammed_trans

Yes , that's exactly what I'm asking . Thank you .

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SiddiqahAli24

I think what you're asking about is formal English and conversational English. Formal English is making sentences that are grammatically correct and follow the rules of the English language and conversational English is what you use when you talk to people every day and it doesn't necessarily follow the rules of English and uses some "slang" words. For example, formal English would be "I'm going to go to the movies later." and conversational English would be "I'm gonna go to the movies later.".

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Mohammed_trans

Yes , I'm asking about that ^^ I know formal English , so am I forced to know also conversational English ?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3
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If you want to speak with native speakers, you'll likely have to learn to understand it. You probably don't have to use it yourself (although you may well do so since many of these differences are to facilitate ease of speech). If you can speak and understand spoken English comfortably, I doubt you have much to worry about. If you're still getting to that point, I think this aspect will just come naturally as you achieve those overall objectives.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Mohammed_trans

After listening to English , I can understand the native speakers , but some dialects are quite difficult to understand ^^ . My level is C1 . I learn English language because it's the global language and the most common language nowadays , also to get better job and communicate with the world .

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MaryBlakely

I have seen these letter/number levels like A2 B1 etc. What are these and what do they mean?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Mohammed_trans

They are levels of any language . A1-A2 ( beginner ) B1 - B2 means intermediate . C1 - C2 ( advanced )

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3
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If you've learned English in school or from formal classes, you've presumably learned formal English. If you've learned English watching gangster movies, probably a good deal less so.

As with any language, writing conventions are more circumscribed than those of speech (think of all those people speaking the nascent Romance languages but only writing in Latin, or the situation with Arabic today; although in English the written and spoken idiom are much closer than those examples), so speech that doesn't match with the writing conventions is informal by default.

There are also of course vocab register differences, different ways of saying things. These you'll learn to distinguish mostly through exposure. Often a Latinate word will be more formal / written-style and one of Anglo-Saxon origin will be more common.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Mohammed_trans

Yeah , I've learned English at school ^^ I wanted to know the difference between formal and slang English I read that English is very useful for getting good jobs ^^

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Judit294350

Some of the replies are slipping from "informal" English to slang and dialect. You don't have to talk like an uneducated gangster to be speaking informal English. Using slang and dialect in the wrong situations will probably sound worse than speaking formal English. In some cases other English speakers may not understand you, or they may then get a low opinion of you, and at the other end people might think you are taking the micky or disrespecting them.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3
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Native speakers inherently communicate in a dialect with every word they utter. Dialects are marked out by any number of differences large and small. For instance, I surmise that your and my dialects of English are not the same by virtue of having no idea what 'taking the micky" means and not even knowing how to pronounce it.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Judit294350

Strictly speaking true - but the variation from standard English can become extreme (for instance some of my American friends cannot understand Glaswegian at all - whereas although I struggle contact with other Scottish dialects means I get most of it).

FYI - I speak NZ English. "To take the mickey (mick-eee)" is British English and means to make fun of someone. A more polite version of "to take the piss".

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3
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I suspect from our O.P.'s standpoint it is a relevant observation that there are English speakers who either can't or for whatever reason won't speak in any of the national standard dialects. So a "full" communicative ability in English would at least mean ability to understand them. However, as you well point out, on that level many a native speaker will fail the test.

The non-standard dialects also vary a lot in their social prestige.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Starfleet12
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I believe that Formal english is more respectful and Informal is just more rude but still alright. Instead of saying "What" when you didn't understand someone, the more polite Version is "Pardon" except no one says that anymore... Do they?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Mohammed_trans

Now I understand ! thank you so much ^^ .

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/IsakNygren1
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Guess which is which:

"Good day sir/ma'am. How do you do?"

"Whazzup dawg. Whazz happening?"

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Mohammed_trans

I think that the most common English all over the world is formal English because English is a very common language .

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3
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There are lots of levels of "formal" really. There's "formal" so formal contractions aren't used; this is actually what many people think of when the term is used. Then there's sort of "ordinary formal" which follows standard sentence structure but does use contractions. Even fairly prestigious media outlets lie in this area. Most writing I personally see on facebook lies here, too (others' feeds may be quite different). Then there is speech.

Most speech would fit in a register below the written form: even in fairly formal situations like official meetings and religious sermons. In the U.S. you're just going to hear "gonna" a lot; probably the only time things aren't contracted when a contraction is possible is for explicit emphasis. You might almost never hear the word "yes" fully enunciated. I personally almost always say "ya," and I am a person who tends to speak in a quite formal manner. "Got" is used alone for present tense possession. But these things are very, very common (as you can see, they relate to some of the very most common words in the language), so I have no doubt you'll adapt to them quite quickly.

1 year ago
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