Register often refers to the degree of formality of language, but in a more general sense it means the language used by a group of people who share similar work or interests, such as doctors or lawyers.

For formal and informal register; 'Would you mind passing the salt?' is appropriate for a formal situation with strangers, whereas 'Pass me the salt' would be used for a situation where friends are talking, or possibly when being rude.

In the classroom
Although register is a complex area, the most common aspect looked at in language learning is the degree of formality. Teachers often divide functional language into three working categories, formal, neutral and informal.

Further links:

Research and insight

We have hundreds of case studies, research papers, publications and resource books written by researchers and experts in ELT from around the world. 

See our publications, research and insight

Sign up to our newsletters for teachers and teacher educators

We will process your data to send you our newsletter and updates based on your consent. You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the "unsubscribe" link at the bottom of every email. Read our privacy policy for more information.