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Register 2

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Language

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




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