English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

When I finished my business trip, my customer unexpectedly invited me to his home for dinner. Can I say "I am flattered" to show my unexpectation of their kindness? And what else can I say in this kind of situation?

share|improve this question
up vote 3 down vote accepted

I would say that 'flattered' is not quite the correct word to use in this instance. One is usually flattered by receiving a compliment or praise, often lavish in nature. Imagine your customer had said something like:

Wow, Bill, that presentation you gave today was the best I've ever seen!

This would be considered flattery and you may be flattered as a result. That your customer asked you to stay for dinner is generous indeed, but I wouldn't say it amounted to flattery, unless of a most indirect nature.

But to answer your question, I would suggest a more appropriate response may have been "I am grateful" rather than "I am flattered". Additional comments you could make would be along the lines of:

Thank you, I appreciate your kind offer.

Mmmm, lovely meatloaf.

And so on.

share|improve this answer

No, it does not have negative connotations when used this way; you may use it. I've used it myself. However, it does not signify that the customer's action was unexpected. It expresses modesty (as in I don't deserve this kindness).

As to what else you can say, don't forget Thank you!

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.