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 EnglishInformal
clothesgear, threads
criticizelay into
homedigs, pad
eatscarf down

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 labeled 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.


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You may also be interested in:

Formal language

Standard English


Grammar and usage