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Register and Audience
Where'd you get those shoes?

Register and Audience

'Register' means the tone and level of formality of language. Whether speaking or writing, you must always choose the register appropriate to your audience and purpose. Standard English is always appropriate to formal situations, as well as many informal situations (for example when addressing people you do not know). At other times, fine judgement must be used. You should consider the age and background of your expected audience along with your purpose in writing or speaking.

This quiz tests your ability to distinguish between different registers.

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1.
Which of the following sentences does NOT share the same register as the others?
Well, it's a good thing he didn't say it to me; that's all
I just can't believe he'd say that to you!
I asked the assistant to inform Mr. Brown of my expected absence from the afternoon meeting
What did he say when you told him that?
Three of the answers share an informal register. You would expect to hear good friends speak like this with each other
2.
Which of the following sentences does NOT share the same register as the others?
Vicious high street attack leaves mum disabled
CCTV camera caught the thugs as they sped away from the scene
Police are seeking three men suspected of injuring a 33-year-old woman in Birmingham yesterday
Shoppers looked on in shock at daytime attack
3.
Which of the following sentences does NOT share the same register as the others?
This is a unique opportunity for a talented individual to join our cutting-edge business
You should have experience at a similar level of responsibility
New sales roles starting ASAP!
Responsibilities include directing internal and external communications
Job advertisements vary in register - the difference indicates who the audience is expected to be
4.
Which of the following sentences does NOT share the same register as the others?
Inaction is not an option
The time has come to recognise that this level of inequality is not inevitable
By concerted effort, we can make a difference
That would be totes amazing
5.
Which of the following sentences does NOT share the same register as the others?
Unfortunately, I have an urgent appointment at the dentist's tomorrow
So soz. LOL
I apologise in advance that I will be late to work tomorrow
I hope to be in the office no later than 10 a.m.
6.
Which of the following sentences does NOT share the same register as the others?
A 2% cut in VAT is expected to stimulate growth over the next year
The report notes the vital role which small businesses play in employment and on the high street
The government has announced today its plans to support small businesses
Youth unemployment SOARS - shock figures released today
The first three sentences share a formal register and are likely to be found in a broadsheet newspaper. The fourth would be more suited to a tabloid (using all capital letters for 'soars' along with the word 'shock' is an example of over-emphasis)
7.
Which of the following sentences does NOT share the same register as the others?
Fruit should appear at the beginning of July and ripen thereafter
In order to ensure the best growing conditions, you should leave the pot in a warm environment
Is that plant dying, or what?
Remember to check the moisture level in the soil at least every three days
Three of the sentences share a formal register and might be found in a gardening book
8.
Which of the following sentences does NOT share the same register as the others?
Overall, the characters and the situations in which they find themselves are believable
Really enjoyed it
The film depicts the lonely struggle of a child from an uprooted family
The nine-year-old lead actor shows a depth of maturity unmatched by his peers
'Really enjoyed it' would work perfectly in a film review aimed at a different audience
9.
Which of the following sentences does NOT share the same register as the others?
You looked utterly amazing in that dress!
That dress is simply unacceptable
Where'd you get those shoes?
Your hair was just gorgeous!
Here the register is dictated by the speaker's purpose, although the audience might well be the same
10.
Which of the following sentences does NOT share the same register as the others?
Stop selling our children's future!
Evidence shows the importance of daily exercise
Over thirty school playing fields were sold to developers within the past two years
In this context, it is hard to credit the government's position on school sport
Author:  Sheri Smith

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