English Language Blog

Power English Posted by on Aug 24, 2014 in English Language

Image "Dumb Muscle" by Pascal on Flickr.com.

Image “Dumb Muscle” by Pascal on Flickr.com.

Informal English is fine to use when talking to your friends, family, or traveling as a tourist, but what about when you really want to make a good impression on someone or when you are using English for business? These are times when you will want to use more formal English, or what I call, “power English.”

Let’s take a look at how you can make your informal English more powerful for use in business and formal interactions. In all of the examples below, you will see that a simple or basic word in English is upgraded to a more formal word to make a more powerful statement. Learning some of these more powerful words will help make your English more formal for times when this is necessary.


Informal English transformed to “Power English”:


I got your message.  —> I received your message.

I asked for this on Tuesday.   —> I requested this on Tuesday.

I need some help.  —> I require your assistance.

We’ll talk about this later.  —> We will discuss this at another time.

James needs to get in touch with the manager.  —> James needs to contact the manager.

Pam has to put off the meeting another day.   —> Pam needs to postpone the meeting another day.

Please make sure the report is turned in by 5pm.   —>  Please ensure the report is submitted by 5pm.

Can you give me your phone number?   —> Can you provide me with your phone number?

Let me know when you are leaving.  —> Please inform me when you are leaving.

The other team needs to say they are sorry for us to move forward.   —> The other team needs to apologize for us to move forward.

Can you tell me why you made this choice?  —> Can you explain why you made this decision?

Today we are going to talk more about the up coming merger.  —> Today we are going to elaborate on the upcoming merger.

How are we going to fix this problem?  —> How are we going to solve this problem?

The deal has been called off.  —> The deal has been cancelled.

Here is a summary of the transformations that took place in the sentences above. The informal words are listed first and their formal, more powerful, synonyms are next.

get/got = receive/received

ask = request

need = require

put off = postpone

talk about = discuss

get in touch = contact

turn in = submit

give = provide

know = inform

say sorry = apologize

tell why = explains

talk more about = elaborate

fix = solve/resolve

call off = cancel

Can you think of any other simple informal words that have more formal or powerful synonyms, if so add them to the list!

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About the Author: Gabriele

Hi there! I am one of Transparent Language's ESL bloggers. I am a 32-year-old native English speaker who was born and raised in the United States. I am living in Washington, DC now, but I have lived all over the US and also spent many years living and working abroad. I started teaching English as a second language in 2005 after completing a Master's in Applied Linguists and a Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults' (CELTA). Since that time I have taught ESL in the United States at the community college and university level. I have also gone on to pursue my doctorate in psychology and now I also teach courses in psychology. I like to stay connected to ESL learners around the world through Transparent Languages ESL Blog. Please ask questions and leave comments on the blog and I will be sure to answer them.