Formal English: We use it when writing essays for school, cover letters to apply for jobs, or emails and letters at work.

Informal English: We use it with friends, children, and relatives.

The following list will help you to recognize the informal and formal ways of saying the same thing. The list is divided into sections of: verbs, transitions, emphasis words, abbreviations, and slang.

Verbs – Informal & Formal

Informal Formal
say sorryapologize, apologise
go upincrease
go downdecrease
set upestablish
look atexamine
blow upexplode
find outdiscover
bring aboutcause
put offpostpone, delay
rack upaccumulate
make upfabricate
stand forrepresent
find outdiscover, ascertain
leave outomit
point outindicate
go againstoppose
get in touch withcontact
It’s aboutIt concerns, It’s in regards to
need torequired
think aboutconsider
getobtain
put uptolerate
deal withhandle
seemappear
showdemonstrate, illustrate, portray
startcommence
keepretain
freerelease
get on someone’s nervesbother
ring upcall
show uparrive
letpermit
fill insubstitute, inform
blockundermine
give the go ahead, greenlightauthorize, authorise


Transitions – Informal & Formal

Informal Formal
AnywaysNevertheless
Plus/AlsoMoreover/ Furthermore
ButHowever
SoTherefore/Thus
AlsoIn addition, Additionally
ASAP as soon as possible/at your earliest convenience
Okay, OKacceptable
In the meantimeIn the interim
I thinkIn my opinion,
In the end,Finally
To sum upIn conclusion,
In a nutshell/BasicallyTo summarize,
Anyway,Notwithstanding
All rightAcceptable
Well,
To top it all off,
On top of it all,
In order to


Emphasis Words – Informal & Formal

Informal Formal
lots of/ a lot ofmuch, many
tons of, heaps oflarge quantities of, a number of
totallycompletely, strongly
really, verydefinitely


Letter Expressions – Informal & Formal

Informal Formal
Hi Robert,Dear Sir or Madam
Just wanted to let you know…I am writing to inform you…
Love,Yours sincerely, Yours faithfully,
Cheers,
Yours Truly, Best regards, kind regards
Hope to hear from you soonI look forward to hearing from you
You can call me if you need anythingPlease do not hesitate to contact me


Abbreviations – Informal & Formal

Informal Formal
ASAPas soon as possible
T.V.television
photophotograph
cellcell phone
netInternet


Slang – Informal & Formal

Informal Formal
kidschildren
badnegative
goodpositive
really big considerable
rightcorrect
wrongincorrect
smartintelligent
cheapinexpensive
loadedrich
engVid quiz
Quiz

Test your understanding of this English lesson

Test your understanding of the English lesson by answering these questions. You will get the answers and your score at the end of the quiz.
Is the following sentence an example of formal or informal writing?
I didn’t need any help.

Is the following sentence an example of formal or informal writing?
Let’s watch some TV this weekend.

Is the following sentence an example of formal or informal writing?
We found out when they met up.

Is the following sentence an example of formal or informal writing?
Many children in the world lack adequate food and housing.

Is the following sentence an example of formal or informal writing?
I’ve been under the weather lately.

Is the following sentence an example of formal or informal writing?
I would like to apologize for any inconvenience I may have caused.

Is the following sentence an example of formal or informal writing?
Furthermore, we have seen the number of units sold increase dramatically.

Is the following sentence an example of formal or informal writing?
Lots of kids have dropped their courses this fall.

Is the following sentence an example of formal or informal writing?
Write back ASAP.

Is the following sentence an example of formal or informal writing?
To top it all off, I have an essay to write by Monday.


Next Question