diciembre 2019
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In linguistics, one of many styles or varieties of language determined by such factors as social occasion, purpose, and audience. More generally, register is also used to indicate degrees of formality in language use.

¤ Formal & informal English:  explanations & tips…

⇒[01]⇐ / ⇒[02]⇐ / ⇒[03]⇐ / ⇒[04]⇐


⇓  Language Registers 

There are five language registers or styles. Each level has an appropriate use that is determined by differing situations. The appropriate language register depends upon the audience (who), the topic (what), purpose (why) and location (where).

  1.   Static Register

This style of communications RARELY or NEVER changes. It is “frozen” in time and content. e.g. the Pledge of Allegiance, the Lord’s Prayer, the Preamble to the US Constitution, the Alma Mater, a bibliographic reference, laws .

  1. Formal Register

This language is used in formal settings and is one-way in nature. This use of language usually follows a commonly accepted format. It is usually impersonal and formal. A common format for this register are speeches. e.g. sermons, rhetorical statements and questions, speeches, pronouncements made by judges,  announcements.

  1. Consultative Register

This is a standard form of communications. Users engage in a mutually accepted structure of communications. It is formal and societal expectations accompany the users of this speech. It is professional discourse. e.g. when strangers meet, communications between a superior and a subordinate, doctor & patient, lawyer & client, lawyer & judge, teacher & student, counselor & client,

  1. Casual Register

This is informal language used by peers and friends. Slang, vulgarities and colloquialisms are normal. This is “group” language. One must be member to engage in this register. e.g. buddies, teammates, chats and emails, and blogs, and letters to friends.

  1. Intimate Register

This communications is private. It is reserved for close family members or intimate people. e.g. husband & wife, boyfriend & girlfriend, siblings, parent & children.

[!]  Rule of Language Use:

One can usually transition from one language register to an adjacent one without encountering repercussions. However, skipping one or more levels is usually considered inappropriate and even offensive.

⇓  Formal & Informal Letters ←[quiz]

∞  Formal & Informal emails  . . .  ⇒[01]⇐  / ⇒[02]⇐

• Writing a formal email  …  ⇒[01]⇐ / ⇒[02]⇐

∇  Polite English ⇔ ‘WANT’ & ‘WOULD LIKE’   ⇓

•→  Asking Permission  ⇔  Making Requests  . . .←•
♦  Formal & informal requests   ⇓

♦  As Rebecca puts it,  ↓  this magical  word, «Thank you», expresses a lot of deep emotion …

¤  Register Use in English  ↓  [Kenneth Beare]


⊕  Some examples of correct register use:

In discussions at work, with friends, strangers, etc. there are unwritten rules that are followed when speaking English. These unwritten rules are called «register use». Register use can help you communicate effectively. Incorrect register use can cause problems at work, cause people to ignore you, or, at best, send the wrong message. Of course, correct register use is very difficult for many learners of English. This feature focuses on different situations and the correct register used in the various situations. To begin with, let’s look at some example conversations.

(Wife to Husband)

– Hi honey, how was your day?

– Great. We got a lot done. And yours?

– Fine, but stressful. Pass me that magazine, please.

– Here you go.

(Friend to Friend)

– Hi Charlie, can you give me a hand?

– Sure Peter. What’s up?

– I can’t get this to work.

– Why don’t you try to use a screwdriver?

(Subordinate to Superior – at work)

– Good Morning, Mr. Jones, may I ask you a question?

– Certainly, how can I help you?

(Superior to Subordinate – at work)

– Excuse me Peter, we seem to be having a problem with the Smith account. We’d better get together to discuss the situation.

– That’s a good idea Ms Amons, would 4 o’clock suit you?

(Man Speaking to Stranger)

– Pardon me. Do you think you could give me the time?

– Certainly, it’s twelve thirty.

– Thank you.

– Not at all.

Notice how the language used becomes more formal as the relationship becomes less personal. In the first relationship, a married couple, the wife uses the imperative form which would be inappropriate with a superior at work. In the last conversation, the man asks using an indirect question as a means of making his question more polite.

⊗  Some examples of incorrect register use:

(Wife to Husband)

– Hello, how are you today?

– I’m fine. Would you mind passing me the bread?

– Certainly. Would you like some butter with your bread? –

Yes, please. Thank you very much.

(Friend to Friend)

– Hello Mr. Jones. May I ask you a question?

– Certainly. How many I help you?

– Do you think you could help me with this?

– I’d be happy to help you.

(Subordinate to Superior – at work)

– Good Morning, Frank. I need a raise.

– Do you really? Well, forget about it!

(Superior to Subordinate – at work)

– Hey Jack, what are you doing?! Get to work!

– Hey, I’ll take as much time as I need.

(Man Speaking to Stranger)

– You! Tell me where supermarket is.

– There.

In these examples, the formal language used for the married couple and friends is much too exaggerated for daily discourse. The examples at work, and of the man speaking to a stranger, show that the direct language often used with friends or family, is too impolite for these situations.

Of course, correct register use also depends on the situation and the tone of voice you use. However, in order to communicate well in English, it is important to master the basics of correct register use.

Φ  Practice Register Use

• Quiz 1  –  Try this quiz: → Identify the correct register ←

Test yourself to see how well you understand correct register usage in these following workplace situations. Choose an appropriate letter for of these phrases spoken in conversation :

A.    Colleagues                                                        B.    Staff to Management

C.    Management to Staff                                   D.    Inappropriate for the Workplace

  1. I’m afraid we’re having some problems with your performance. I would like to see you in my office this afternoon.
  1. What did you do last weekend?
  1. Hey, get over here now!
  1. Excuse me, do you think it would be possible for me to go home early this afternoon? I have a doctor’s appointment.
  1. Well, we went to this wonderful restaurant in Yelm. The food was excellent and the prices were reasonable.
  1. Listen, I’m going home early, so I can’t finish the project until tomorrow.
  1. Excuse me Bob, would you mind lending me $10 for lunch. I’m short today.
  1. Give me five bucks for lunch. I forgot to go to the bank.
  1. You are an extremely handsome young man, I’m sure you’ll do well at our company.
  1. Excuse me Ms Brown, could you help me with this report for a moment?


•  Quiz 2  –  Try another quiz: → Choose best statement for the situation

  1. Company director to employee
    1. Hey, get over here.
    2. Ms. Brown, could you come here for a moment?
    3. Jane, I need to talk to you.
  1. One colleague to another
    1. Excuse me, do you think you could possibly give me a hand?
    2. Excuse me, could you give me a hand?
    3. Give me a hand.
  1. Stranger to a man in the street
    1. Could you possible tell me the time?
    2. The time, please.
    3. Hello there, how are you?
  1. Waiter to customer
    1. What do you want?
    2. What would you like today?
    3. Do you think you could possibly tell me what you would like to eat today?
  1. Employee to department manager
    1. Mr. Brown, could I have a word with you this afternoon?
    2. Frank, I need to talk to you.
    3. Mr. Brown, do you think it would be possible for me to speak with you this afternoon?
  1. Husband to wife
    1. How do you do?
    2. What’s up?
    3. Excuse me dear, I was wondering how you were feeling.
  1. Teacher to student
    1. Do exercise 1, now!
    2. Please do exercise 1.
    3. Would you mind doing exercise 1?
  1. Brother to sister
    1. Hurry up!
    2. Pardon me, can you please get ready?
    3. Shall we go my dear?
  1. Company director to employee
    1. Ms Smith, you look fantastic today!
    2. Jane, you are a knock out!
    3. How are you today Ms Smith?
  1. Customer to receptionist
    1. Give me my bill.
    2. The bill, please
    3. I was wondering if I could trouble you for the bill.

Φ  Explanations & tasks: from Hugh Cory’s Advanced Writing with English in Use:⇒ Formal & Informal English.pdf

C.A.E.  Register transfer cloze … →[01]←  / →[02]←


♣  Adam Sandler’s uses of the word f*** ↓

♣  Three uses of the word  «F***»  ↓  by Philochko

•→ Swearwords & expletives

∇  Elon Gold ⇓ Really Bad Words

My nine-year-old boy came home recently and he… It was a true story – it’s a hundred-per-cent true story – A hundred per cent true! Came home, and he goes,

«Daddy. I learned two really bad words…»

«Ok son, let’s hear them. What are they?»

«They’re so bad I can’t even say them. I’m just gonna spell them…» 

I was like, ‘Fine, fuck it, spell them!’ you know. I shouldn’t have said that… but I figured out it was one of the words and we’d have covered and we would move on, but it wasn’t.  It was worse, it was worse …

I go, «OK, spell it – Let’s hear!»

He goes, «K-…»

I’m going through the list. There’s nothing! Other than «kye» but it goes to Hebrew school. There’s no way anyone is calling them ‘kye’ unless they’re calling each other that nowadays, «Yeah, what’s up kye..» you know, unless they’re doing that … But I doubt it. I doubt …

«So it’s like ‘K-‘ Yeah, go on.»

And he goes, «…-U-N-T.»

«Oh my … !»  Yeah, cause now I got to give him a spelling lesson. «[…?]  first of all, it’s a ‘C-?»  You know, cause he’s gonna grow up, he’s gonna have women, girlfriend, girl dumping, I don’t want to… ‘You’re a k-u-n-t!’ ‘You’re a stupid asshole, don’t even know how to spell cunt!’ I got to teach him right, I’m like…

«I see, and I want you to know something son. That is a very very bad word, OK? That’s a word that very very mean men use in a derogatory way towards women.»

And he goes, «Wow! Have… have you ever used that with mam?»

And I was like, ‘Not to her! About her maybe…’ «No! No!» I said, «no – no – no. I’ve never used it. I never use that word. And you shoud neither. Now let’s hear the other word.»

He’s like, «This one’s worse… I’m gonna spell it also…»

«All right. Go ahead. Spell it.»

He goes, «N-…»

«My, oh boy!»


And I swear this is exactly how it happened…


You got to be kidding with the spelling bullshit! Who’s this […?] racist horrible speller teaching him these words? I’m like, «All right – all right – alright – awright . . . First of all, it’s two Gs.» Again! He’ll grow up now with black friends, hang around and to be like… ‘Yo, where are nickers at?’ you know, it sounds – it sounds stupid!

I was like, «… it’s two Gs and I want you to know something about that word. That is a terrible word, horriblee. That’s a word that very very mean white people use in a derogatory way towards black people.»

He goes like, «Wow! Have you ever used t?»

‘Not to them!’ «No,» I said, «Of course not! I said I had never ever used that word, and you shoudn’t either, ever, Ok? and just so you know, the word that you were trying to spell ‘knickers’, those are actually …er… those three-quarter-pants that faggots wear.

¤  ‘john’ [Am] – ‘loo’ [Br] – ‘bog’ [Aus] – ‘can’ [Can]


Going to the toilet – Here is a subject you won’t find in any detail in any of your English textbooks. It’s strange really, when you consider that each and every one of us does this at least once or twice a day. Yet many people, and the English in particular, are rather embarrassed when talking about going to the toilet.

The English, being somewhat reluctant to admit that they do go to the toilet, have invented many expressions to sanitise this rather natural bodily function. Perhaps it is this embarrassment about our natural bodily functions that makes toilet humour so popular in Hollywood movies and for stand-up comedians.

But this is not a modern phenomenon, this aversion to accept our body’s natural processes. Around 1781, Benjamin Franklin wrote an essay entitled, Fart Proudly, in which he suggested to the Royal Academy of Brussels that research ought to be undertaken into ways of improving the odour of the human fart. Raucously funny, the essay has nevertheless been excluded from most published collections of Franklin’s writings.

I fully expect this video to upset my more genteel viewers, so don’t be shy in complaining about the content in the comments below the video. Let’s take a look at some of this vocabulary that you won’t easily find elsewhere.

When I was in the military, I once told our appalling army chef that he was a genius. He was a genius, I told him, because it took the human body 24 hours to turn good food into shit, whereas he could do it in a matter of minutes. And that’s basically what our bodies do, isn’t it? We fill our stomachs with food and drink and thus begin a process whereby our bodies remove everything useful from the food by digestion and excrete the waste products.

There are two types of waste product produced by the body. There is solid waste produced by the bowels or intestines, and there is liquid waste produced by the kidneys and stored in the bladder.

•  We’ll have a look at the liquid waste first.


Your kidneys act as filters, filtering your blood and extracting the things that your body doesn’t need. This waste material is stored in the bladder and its technical name is urine. Other nouns for urine are pee, piddle, piss, and wee. Children use the term, wee-wee. The verbs used to describe how we rid ourselves of the urine are many and varied. The technical term is urination.

If your bladder is full and you desperately need to urinate, you can say that you are bursting.

 I’m bursting!  –  I’m bursting for a pee!  –  I’m bursting for a wee!

You can also say,  I need to empty my bladder, or,  I need to take a leak.

For reasons unknown to me, when men take a leak they can say, I need a slash, slash being a male only term for urination.

 I’m going to have a slash! – I’ve just been for a slash! – If you’ve had a slash, you should wash your hands.

Women may well say that they are going to pass water, and children are told to go for a tinkle.

And when someone is accused of taking the piss, they are not collecting urine like the ancient Romans used to do to sell to the fullers for cleaning wool and other things. To take the piss is to make fun of someone.

•  And now let’s take a look, metaphorically speaking, at the solid waste that our bodies produce.

The more delicate amongst you, and those easily offended, should perhaps stop watching this video now. If, however, you feel, as I do, that all English is important, even the English that some deem offensive, you should stay and learn.

If you’re not constipated, you excrete solid waste daily. As there are 7 billion of us now, that’s a lot of waste every day!

Go to your doctor, possibly to relieve your constipation, and your doctor will use terms like bowel movement, defecation, evacuation of the bowels, and the passing of stools, so as not to offend. Mind you if I passed a stool, I’d be pretty well offended, or at least my bottom would be.

Your doctor is not going to ask you how many times you have a crap, or take a dump. Such terms are normally heard amongst friends at work or in the pub.

If you have diarrhoea, the doctor is likely to ask you if your stools or motions are loose.

Those of a more polite disposition are more likely to use the term poo, as in, I’m going for a poo. This poo should not to be confused with the furry pooh that A.A. Milne created. Countless children, however, have sniggered at the humorous connection between poo and Winnie the Pooh.

And then there are times when you just have to excuse yourself in order to go to the toilet and answer the call of nature. So what terms can you use in English to do so?

… Script goes on [+ m/c test]http://linguaspectrum.com/do_the_quiz.php?id=44


⇑  Talking shit with Emma  ⇓

Θ  Let’s have sex with Ronnie  ↓  [→quiz←]



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