Is Your English Too Formal?

Does your English come across as too polite? While formal language is essential with your boss and your customers, you would sound strange to your friends if you speak with them in the same way. To tone down your English for life’s casual situations, check out these tips.

Meetings and greetings

Do you ask everyone you see, “How do you do?” Though quite common in days past, today it’s only appropriate in very formal situations – not with your friends. In most situations, choose a more common phrase like, “How are you?” With friends, you could also say, “Hey, what’s up?” or “How’s it going?”

Wining and dining

“Would you mind passing me the salt, please?” It’s always important to remember your manners, especially when you’re eating with business associates or important guests. But when you’re just grabbing a bite to eat with friends, and you need the salt, it’s quite OK to just say, “Hey, pass the salt.”

Coming and going

You receive an urgent message during an important meeting, so you ask, “Would you excuse me for a moment, please?” But what if you’re with your friends? Just tell them to “hang on a sec” or say you’ll “be right back.” Remember, it’s not always impolite to be informal.

Didn’t hear it?

Your customer is speaking to you, but you didn’t understand what she said. Don’t panic. Just be polite and say, “Excuse me, but would you mind repeating that?” On the other hand, in more casual situations, just ask, “Come again?” or “What did you say?”

Good impressions

“This is quite an impressive abode, my dear.” This is a formal way to tell people that you really like their home. If you’re over at a friend’s place, however, there’s no need for such serious language. Your friends would be perfectly happy to hear you exclaim, “What a cool place, man!”

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