The following ideas are taken from Alan Perlman’s excellent book “Writing Great Speeches”. In it he makes very simple, but useful suggestions as to how to change between registers when speaking. Native speakers of English probably do all this already without thinking about it, but it will be useful for those of you with English B to see a few “tricks” that you can use.
The basic suggestion is that if you wish to be more formal in your register you should use a more impersonal language when speaking, and if you want to be less formal, a more personal one.
|Impersonal = abstract (ie suffixes -tion, -ity, -ness, -ing)||modernisation of the business is proceeding|
|Personal = who’s doing what||we are modernising the business|
|Impersonal = “done to”||200 people were hired|
|Personal = doing||we hired 200 people|
|Impersonal = compound nouns||a petrol tax increase|
|Personal = short nouns joined by prepositions||an increase in the tax on petrol|
|Impersonal = keep prepositions with their pronouns/nouns||this is a problem with which we are all familiar|
|Personal = split them up||this is a problem that we are all familiar with|
|Impersonal = don’t use contractions||It will be a tough year|
|Personal = use contractions||It’ll be a tough year|