English Communication- Formal and Informal English conversation guidelines

English Communication- Formal and Informal English conversation guidelines

Today’s blog is more of a list of examples on how I train my students during our online spoken English class. I have observed that there is always certain confusion and unclarity about the usage of English words and sentences when it comes to formal versus informal modes of communication.

Technically, formal communication refers to the flow of official information through proper, predefined channels and routes. Whereas informal communication is generally associated with interpersonal or casual communication.

From my experience teaching an online English speaking course in India, the confusion appears deeper. Most students are learning English as a second language (ESL). Thus, students initially think in their mother tongue and then translate, rephrase aloud in English. Thinking in English does take some time, but the main task is to be able to speak formally and the ability to identify casual conversations.

Indian languages offer shades of gender as well grammar specific sentence structures where paying respect is prioritized. Thus, Indian languages have a variety of pronouns and is much more diverse than the limited ones that we see in English. Online English speaking courses will usually focus on pronunciations, identifying formal-informal tones requires practice.

Formal versus Informal conversations with examples

As an online English teacher, my first recommendation is to observe conversation tones and then apply them. There are no shortcuts but regular, consistent practice will get you there. And the second being active efforts to improve your English vocabulary. Most of us use fillers or ghost words that adversely affects our conversation tones.

Let’s see a few examples that you can start using in your daily conversations with friends or at work.

Informal sentences VS Formal sentences.

Informal
Formal
I drop and PICK UP my KIDS from school almost every day.
I drop and COLLECT my CHILDREN from school almost every day.
I have FIXED UP an appointment for 7.30 pm.
I have ARRANGED an appointment for 7.30 pm.
I do not go to parties BUT I went to one yesterday.
I do not go to parties HOWEVER I went to one yesterday.
I LIKE / ENJOY watching TV on weekends.
I PREFER watching TV on weekends.
It is RIGHT to tell your teacher about your issues in writing.
It is CORRECT to tell your teacher about your issues in writing.
I BOUGHT a new car last weekend.
I PURCHASED a new car last weekend.
I am SORRY for the trouble you faced due to us.
I APOLOGIZE for the trouble you faced due to us.
The boss will START the meeting right on time.
The boss will COMMENCE the meeting right on time.
The prices will GO UP if not controlled by the authorities.
The prices will INCREASE if not controlled by the authorities.
When did you FIND out your brother is not well?
When did you DISCOVER your brother is not well?
I need your HELP in drafting the mail, would you help?
I need your ASSISTANCE in drafting the mail, would you help?
She is a FRIENDLY person and has a good nature.
She is an AMIABLE person and has a PLEASANT nature.
I like to meet new people AND I like to travel a lot.
I like to meet new people FURTHER I like to travel a lot.
We are LUCKY to have a supportive manager like him.
We are FORTUNATE to have a supportive manager like him.
There is ENOUGH space to accommodate the new candidate in the room.
There is SUFFICIENT space to accommodate the new candidate in the room.
It is a very CHEAP bag with a heavy discount.
It is an INEXPENSIVE bag with a heavy discount.
I HAVE to go to meet the boss today itself.
I NEED TO meet the boss today itself.
I WANT some more time to finish the report.
I REQUIRE some more time to finish the report.
YES, I will come to the party tonight.
CERTAINLY, I will come to the party tonight.
You can BUY a new house with this money.
You can PURCHASE a new house with this money.
I DID NOT come as I was suffering from fever.
I COULD NOT come as I was suffering from fever.
I was working till late YESTERDAY night.
I was working till late LAST night.

Informal questions VS Formal questions.

  • CAN you help me in making the flow chart of the process?
  • WILL you come with us for buying gifts for the function?
  • DO you want some tea or coffee?
  • CAN you tell me where you LIVE in your country?
  • ARE you coming?
  • COULD you help me in making the flow chart of the process?
  • WOULD you come with us for buying gifts for the function?
  • WOULD YOU LIKE TO have some tea or coffee?
  • WOULD YOU MIND TELLING ME where you RESIDE in your country?
  • WOULD IT BE POSSIBLE for you to come?

Casual VS formal(polite) questions

  • What place is it?
  • Could you tell me what place it is?
  • What is her name?
  • Could you tell me what her name is?
  • Where is the Central bank near a park?
  • Could you tell me where the Central bank near a park is?
  • Are you an atheist?
  • Would you mind telling me if you are an atheist?
  • Is she American?
  • Can you tell me if she is American?
  • Is the office closing now?
  • Could you tell me if the office is closing now?
  • Was he coming to the meeting today?
  • Do you have any idea if he was coming to the meeting today?
  • Were you listening to music last night?
  • Do you mind telling me if you were listening to music last night?
  • Has he been performing the job with a group or alone?
  • Do you have any idea if he has been performing the job with a group or alone?
  • Does Danny come here regularly?
  • Can you tell me if Danny comes here regularly?
  • Where should I sit?
  • COULD you kindly inform me where I should sit?
  • Where is the toilet?
  • Could you please tell me where the loo is?

Last but certainly not least, use connectors to make the formal sentences instead of one word or one -liner answers. For example - since, while, before, after, unless, whereas, once, that, wherever, whenever, although.

Let’s see few examples to learn how we can apply them in our conversations.

CASE 1 - What is your favourite colour?

Wrong – Blue.

Wrong – My favourite colour is Blue.

Correct – Well, the colour I prefer is Blue AS I always end up buying dresses in blue MOREOVER it gives me a feel-good factor SINCE it is a colour of calmness and peace.

CASE 2- What is your profession?

Wrong – Teacher.

Wrong – I am working as a teacher.

Correct- SINCE I was always interested in teaching, presently I am a Teacher, IN ADDITION, I would like to mention that I am quite satisfied with my career at the moment and CERTAINLY looking for a bright future ahead.

CASE 3 - Where do you live?

Wrong – C block.

Wrong – I live at C block in Central city.

Correct – I live in C block which is one of the best cities or which is also my hometown. FURTHER, I have been living here SINCE my childhood, ultimately this place has a special corner in my heart. MOREOVER, I was born and bought here EVENTUALLY I have many good friends.

CASE 4 - Tell me about your education?

Wrong – I am a graduate.

Wrong – I have completed my B.A.

Correct –

Answer 1- SINCE my area of interest was arts SO I completed my graduation in B.A. FURTHER, I WOULD LIKE TO HIGHLIGHT that my college life shaped my communication and interaction with people.

Answer 2- SINCE I was good in calculation, I opted for Commerce. IN ADDITION, I WOULD LIKE TO SHARE that I had a great time with my college friends MOREOVER our professors were very supportive.

Related Article- English vocabulary building tips

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