Informal to formal

There are many words and phrases often used by students that, although used in conversational or informal English, are not considered formal English required for successful academic writing.

Table 1. List of informal English converted to formal academic English.

  Informal, ‘Wordy’ English   Formal Academic English
a lot many, considerable number, numerous
came back returned
came up with produced, provided
come up with develop
carried out (a study) conducted, performed
chance likelihood
deal with manage, respond to
did, done conducted, performed
extra additional
get obtain, receive
get rid of eliminate, removed
go down, get smaller decrease, reduce
go into, talk about discuss
go up, get bigger increase
(a) great deal of considerable
hard difficult
help assistance
in accordance with consistent with
enough of sufficient
fact evidence
filled out completed
find out determine ascertain, discover, learn
(it is) fitting (it is) appropriate
looked into investigated
made up of consisted of, comprised
make up, constitute, comprise
make it easier facilitate
make sure ensure, verify
not been much few, little
pointed out, watched, indicated, observed
pretty good encouraging
prove support
put forward (an idea, view, theory) present, propose
right correct, accurate
said reported, indicated, stated
set out to do something, try to do aim
set up established
sort of quite
tell apart/between, make a distinction distinguish, differentiate, discern
went back over, looked over, reviewed
went through checked
worked on conducted
worked out, figured out determined
wrong incorrect, inaccurate
whole lot of various


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