Every time that you speak with someone, you’re using language to create and to build relationships with your neighbours, professor, with your clients or customers, etc. Communicating information is an important part of speaking, but you can do so much more than that and you really should because it’s this extra stuff that helps you to become a friendly and memorable person in English conversations.
If the language that you use is not appropriate to the context then your meaning and even your character can be a little misunderstood. If you’re too formal, you can accidentally make people feel uncomfortable. Perhaps they might even think you’re being a little rude. And equally, if you use informal language in a situation where you really need to use formal language, you might not be taken seriously and perhaps you might even be overlooked.
So recognising the context in which you’re speaking and choosing the appropriate language for that context is an important skill for advanced English users.
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So what is context?
Context refers to whatever is going on around you at that moment: where are you, what’s happening, who are you talking to. All of these things help to create the context and the context helps us to know what type of words and what type of grammar structures are relevant and appropriate for that situation.
Now you might assume that your workplace is a professional context, right? So formal language is always required but it’s not as simple as that.
If you work in an office, then yes, using formal language with customers and clients is essential. If you’re talking to your boss or someone high up in the company, you want to be using more formal language to sound more impressive and more intelligent.
However, using formal language all the time doesn’t make you very approachable or relatable and it can make you seem a little stiff or a little dull. Over time, you’ll want to build relationships with your colleagues, the people you work with, so you’ll want to relax your tone a little, make a joke, don’t take yourself so seriously. Even if you get along well with your boss or some clients, then using informal language can also help you to build relationships with them. It helps them to feel more comfortable with you and want to speak with you more. This is definitely how many professional working environments operate in English-speaking countries like Australia and the US and the UK. It’s really important to have these informal conversations with your colleagues to help them feel relaxed and really comfortable around you, to enjoy their time with you.
Therefore, in this article, Learn English Fun Way will share with you the four common words that are not appropriate for casual, relaxed conversations. Besides, we will also give you some alternatives to use to help you sound more relaxed and less formal in other situations.
Now, let’s start!
4 Common Words Inappropriate For Casual Conversations
1, Furthermore / 2, Moreover
These words are used to add extra information or more important information Both of them are great to use when you’re writing an essay or if you’re giving a presentation or you’re trying to support your argument in a debate. They’re brilliant words but you will rarely hear native English speakers using them in everyday conversation because they’re just too formal for conversational English. Although you might think that using more intelligent words is always better, it’s just not as simple as that. There are times when simpler and less formal words are much more appropriate.
So let’s talk about some alternatives that you can use instead of ‘moreover’ and ‘furthermore’. Some words that you could use instead of these words are:
besides; in addition to; as well; also; too; plus; what’s more; on top of that.
- We had a great conversation. Furthermore, we’ve decided to meet later in the week.
- We had a great conversation. We decided we’d meet later in the week too.
- Texting while driving is really dangerous; moreover, it’s illegal in Australia.
- Texting while driving is really dangerous; what’s more, it’s illegal in Australia.
- We have enough time to get something to eat before the show. Moreover, I’m hungry!
- We have enough time to get something to eat before the show. Besides, I’m hungry!
- My friend was late for the movie. Furthermore, he forgot his wallet and I had to pay!
- My friend was late for the movie and on top of that, he forgot his wallet and I had to pay!
Learning how to use these less formal alternatives is a little tricky because not all of them work well in every situation. You do need to get a little bit of feedback from the native English speaker to learn when it’s appropriate to use them correctly. You could take classes with a English center that has the native teachers so they can definitely help you with some of these little nuances in language. Any native teacher or native speaker will be able to tell you when it’s appropriate to use ‘moreover’ and ‘furthermore’ and also when it’s not.
This word is used to introduce a consequence or result. Like two above-mentioned words, “therefore” is also a brilliant word when you’re structuring an essay or you’re making an argument. It’s also brilliant in presentations or in formal speeches. However, it usually sounds a little weird if you use it in everyday conversation because it’s just too formal.
When you’re trying to be a little less formal, simply use ‘so’ instead of ‘therefore’.
- We’re visiting a cathedral; therefore, you’ll need to make sure your shoulders are covered.
- We’re visiting a cathedral, so you’ll need to make sure your shoulders are covered.
- Quite a few people haven’t replied yet, and their names, therefore, will be removed from the guest list.
- Quite a few people haven’t replied yet, so their names, therefore, will be removed from the guest list.
This word is used to contrast. It is used a little more often in spoken English but again, it’s quite formal, so it can make you sound a little stiff in a relaxed and casual conversation. If you’re talking to a friend or a colleague, especially one that you know well, ‘however’ can feel a little jarring and unnecessarily formal.
When you’re trying to be a little less formal, simply use ‘but’ instead of ‘however’.
- There’s an awesome Italian restaurant around the corner. However, there are many other restaurants nearby.
- There’s an awesome Italian restaurant around the corner, but there are many other restaurants nearby.
- The cost of fuel has been rising. It’s unlikely, however, that it will go much higher.
- The cost of fuel has been rising, but it’s unlikely that it’ll go much higher.
So it is the end of this article. We hope that the lesson made it clear for you that more formal and more complex advanced words are not always better. If you’ve got any questions about this, add them to the comments down there. In order to get further explanation and practice your listening skills also, watch the video below. Thank you for reading and see you in the next writing!
Credit: Youtube Channel “mmmEnglish”