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Avoid These Words in Casual English Conversation


Have you noticed that there’s a difference in words used in written English vs. words used in spoken English?

Especially in academic writing and literature, the language used is more formal.

Whereas the words and sentences used in daily, casual conversation are simpler and more straightforward. 

If you use words that are too “fancy” in casual conversation, you may come off as someone who’s a little stiff or formal or someone who’s trying too hard to be impressive with their expansive vocabulary.

In this lesson I'm going to share 10 verbs, or action words that, although fabulous words, are a bit too formal for casual conversation and I’ll also share simpler, more straightforward words to use instead.

Practice words and sentences used in this lesson:

1) Instead of depart, use leave or go:

We need to leave by 4.

I think it’s time to go.


2) Instead of commence, use start or begins:

The session will start in 20 minutes.

The new semester begins in January.


 3) Instead of obtain, use get:

Did you get your driver’s license?

 Were you able to get an appointment?


4) Instead of reside, use live:

I currently live in San Francisco.


5) Instead of permit, use let:

We don’t let the kids eat a lot of sweets.


6) Instead of inform, use tell:

Please tell the group about the change in the agenda.

Be sure to tell your teacher you’ll be gone Thursday and Friday.


7) Instead of inquire, use ask:

I’ll call the front desk and ask about a late check out.

Did you ask about dessert?


8) Instead of wish to, use want to or would like to:

I’d like to go to Harvard.

I want to travel abroad.


9) Instead of shall, use will, let’s or should:

I’ll try the soup.

Let’s meet at 8? or Should we meet at 8?


10) Instead of appear, use seem, seems like, or looks like:

You seem tired today.

It looks like it’s going to rain this afternoon.


So there you have it. 10 beautiful verbs that, although fabulous words, sound a bit formal in casual conversation and some suggested, simpler words to use instead.

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