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English Grammar Workbook For Dummies, with Online Practice, 3rd Edition by Geraldine Woods

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Chapter 1

Tailoring Language to Suit Your Audience and Purpose

IN THIS CHAPTER

check Distinguishing between formal and informal language

check Choosing the correct level of formality in speaking and writing

When it comes to language, one size does not fit all. The way you tell an Authority Figure (teacher, boss, emperor, whatever) about an app you invented differs from the way you explain your brainchild to a friend. If you’re like most people, you probably switch levels of formality automatically, dozens of times a day. But sometimes you may find yourself wondering how to express yourself, especially in emails, texts, and tweets. If you hit the wrong note, your message may not receive the reaction you’d hoped for. Very few investors react positively to someone who writes, “Yo, want in on this?” Nor will you find it easy to get a date if you ask, “Would you consider dining with me at an informal Italian restaurant that offers relatively good pizza?” In this chapter you practice identifying levels of formality and examine situations in which each is appropriate.

Climbing the Ladder of Language Formality

Proper English is important. The only problem with that statement is the definition of “proper.” Language has many levels of formality, all of which are “proper” at times and completely unsuitable ...

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