Coffee shop chat

Informal language

Informal language is mainly used between people who know each other well, or in relaxed and unofficial contexts.

Here are some examples of informal English words and their standard equivalents:

Standard English
Informal
attractive
fit
clothes
gear, threads
criminal
crook
criticize
lay into
home
gaff
alcohol
booze

As a rule, it's best to avoid informal vocabulary in most standard written contexts: it wouldn't be a good idea to use it in job applications, for example, or in a report:

They laid into the government for failing to allocate enough funding.

They criticized the government for failing to allocate enough funding.

Informal language also includes taboo vocabulary, often labelled as vulgar slang in dictionaries or thesauruses. This typically refers to sex or bodily functions and, since many people are likely to find such terms offensive or shocking, they should generally be avoided.

 

Back to Usage.

You may also be interested in:

Formal language

Standard English

Slang

See more from Usage