You use register without even realizing it — as you shift between talking with friends, emailing a co-worker and texting your mom, your language changes to suit the context. This is called register, and linguists say there are five distinct types of it: informal, formal, consultative, intimate and conversational. Understanding register can help you improve your communication skills and adjust your vocabulary to fit the situation.
Formal: The most formal register is used in professional or academic settings, such as lectures or business meetings. This tone is highly constrained, with little room for slang or contractions. The formal register is also used in legal proceedings, such as a court case or an interview. People who use the formal register are generally expected to be respectful, uninterrupted and restrained, and they often rely on courtesy titles and academic or literary vocabulary.
Casual: This is the register most of us are familiar with, characterized by relaxed and open language in social settings (a birthday party or backyard barbecue) and in conversations between close friends and family members. Casual registers may incorporate slang, vernacular grammar and off-color humor. Linguists note that people use the casual register when they want to sound friendly and approachable but not formal or serious.
Consultative: This register is used when someone needs advice or guidance from a specialist or expert. Those who use the consultative register are usually considered to have specialized knowledge and experience, and they are typically paid for their services. Those in the consultative register are typically respected, but their tone is often less formal than those in the formal register. They may also use slang and contractions, and they might pause or interrupt one another. Examples of people in the consultative register include a financial adviser or an accountant.
A register is a document that contains important information about a person or thing. For example, it might contain the name of a student or voter or details about a property. It is also possible to register a car or other piece of machinery.
Registers are small and high-speed storage units within a computer’s central processing unit (CPU) that serve as temporary storage for data the CPU requires for immediate processing during arithmetic and logic operations. They are made up of flip-flops and have combinational gates that implement specific data-processing functions.
Registers are critical to the performance of a computer program. They enable the processor to access frequently used values faster than if they were stored in main memory, and they can save a lot of computing power by reducing the need for repeated access to the same data. The cost of a register is relatively expensive, however, as it involves additional hardware that increases the overall price of the CPU. Therefore, the design of a register should be carefully considered to keep costs down. This is particularly true for embedded systems, which are miniscule computer systems that can be found in devices such as cars and household appliances.