Formal or Informal English?

Students of English are often advised to watch TV to improve their English.

While this can be an entertaining way to learn, quite often the language presented is not always suitable for every occasion and in particular the workplace.

The style of English used in business meetings, for instance, is much more formal and tentative than the style of English used in day to day conversation with friends.

As an example, lets have a look at disagreeing with something. If you are having a conversation with a close friend then it is perfectly acceptable to disagree by saying "That's rubbish!" or "Nonsense!"

But in the more formal work environment this same phrase would be totally unacceptable. Disagreeing more tentatively by saying "I am afraid I don't agree with you." would be much more appropriate. An even better, and more powerful way, is to partially concede that the other person has a valid point and then put in your own opinion as in "I can see your point, but I still think that .... is the best option".

Knowing when to use formal or informal English is a very difficult skill. However, a good private English tutor will be able to train you to use English appropriately for different circumstances.