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‘Register’ is the term we use to refer to different varieties or styles of speaking and writing, and also the degree or level of formality with which we speak or write.Degree of formality is on a sliding scale rather than in distinct categories, and although phrasal verbs are often thought of as an informal part of language, most of them are neutral, and some are in fact rather formal.
And although they’re very familiar to you, it’s possible you might not even know what these much-used parts of language are called.
Here’s a very brief explanation and reminder if you need one…
If you were to use them in informal writing they would very strange and out of place.
As always with writing, context is everything – remember to use the language most appropriate to your audience. will most probably have a guide to the language you should use for formal writing, including their preferences for using phrasal verbs or their single verb equivalents.
Because of their frequent occurrence in informal speech and writing, it’s not unreasonable to think that phrasal verbs are always informal.
You may have read that phrasal verbs should be avoided in formal writing, and that the single verb equivalents should be used instead.
Phrasal verbs are particularly common in normal conversation.
Using phrasal verbs in your informal speech makes it sound more natural, and if you’re a non-native English speaker, using them makes your speech much more like that of a native English speaker.
Phrasal verbs are also very common in informal writing where the style of the writing is similar to a spoken conversation.
In informal writing you’re writing very much as you speak and, according to the context, your writing may include slang, idioms, colloquial expressions, abbreviations, contractions, and of course, many phrasal verbs.