Skills 360 – Levels of Formality in English (Part 2)

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Skills 360 – Levels of Formality in English (2)

Welcome back to Business English Skills 360 for today’s lesson on the different levels of formality in spoken English.

Think about how you speak in your first language. Do you talk the same way to your colleagues as your wife? Or the same to your friends as your boss? Of course not. Different people, and different situations, mean different levels of formality.

We can think about four different levels of formality in spoken English. First, is “formal” English. This is what you might use when you’re giving a public presentation or speech. Next is what we call “consultative,” which is basically professional conversation like talking to your colleagues in a meeting. Then there is “casual,” which is the style you use when talking with your friends. And finally, there’s “intimate” language, which is used with your spouse or family members.

But what if you’re not sure about whether the situation requires formal or more casual language? Well, in that case, stick to language that you know is neutral. And remember, neutral language is acceptable at all levels. Also note that there are individual differences in formality. Different people have different conversational styles. Some tend to be more formal, while others are more casual.

Lesson Resources: Lesson Module | Quiz & Vocab | PDF Transcript

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