This tag is for questions regarding the polite use of words or phrases.

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2answers
31 views

Difference beween requests “can”, “could” and “may”? [duplicate]

We can use can, could, and may for requests and permissions, but is there any difference between the meanings of the following three versions? May I go? Can I go? Could I go?
24
votes
12answers
8k views

How do I politely say I have used my mouth while drinking water from a bottle?

Is there a one word substitute for the scenario below, and what is the politest way of saying it to another person or colleague? I drink water from my bottle by touching my mouth When someone ...
1
vote
5answers
83 views

“At my earliest convenience”

I'm quite used to using the phrase "at your earliest convenience" to express urgency but also polite sensitivity to others' schedules and deadlines. It means "Please do this as son as you can without ...
0
votes
0answers
80 views

Is it polite to say 'thank you guys' if both genders were involved? [duplicate]

Related: Is "guy" gender-neutral? Discussion about more formal version: http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=1620575 Thank you (thank you guys)
0
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0answers
68 views

Do vs. did in “do you want to join us?” [duplicate]

What exactly is the difference in meaning between the questions Do you want to join us? and Did you want to join us? in the context of a group of people asking asking another person who ...
4
votes
3answers
119 views

Is addressing a guy as “guy” rude?

Non-native here, is addressing a guy as just "guy" considered rude? Like, while addressing a pet-store clerk: "Hey, guy, how many mice will $13 buy?" Also, how long has it been in use?
2
votes
1answer
101 views

Is “thank's” an alternative correct spelling?

My colleague who is American spells "thank's" (with an apostrophe) and when I ask him why he said because it's "more formal" and "he uses American English". Is this true? Can you really spell ...
-1
votes
1answer
62 views

Do both of these introductions mean the same thing and make sense?

I work with someone whom I have not yet introduced myself to; someone usually introduces a new person around the office but I wasn’t in on this person’s first day, so I missed that. Anyway, on ...
2
votes
1answer
92 views

What are the most common ways to say “die”, i.e. pass away? [closed]

It seems like my question was too broad to answer. I'm sorry for the inconvenience. I've edited my question a little. So, I would like to know what common terms I can use instead of the word "die." ...
1
vote
2answers
76 views

How to address a female interviewer

So just had a phone interview, the interviewer was a lady, now that i want to write a thank you letter, how should i address her, Ms or Mrs, because i am not supposed to know she's married or not
0
votes
3answers
55 views

What is the correct way to respond to sender with full name

I recently received an email I need to respond to, but I am unsure of the correct way to address the sender. Dear Mr Sayse, [ . . . email body . . . ] Regards Joe Bloggs Is it ...
1
vote
1answer
78 views

Diplomatic word to express having difficulty or finding it unpleasant working with someone. [closed]

I'm filling out a feedback form for a senior colleague who I've been working with, I want say something like Last year I had some difficulty working with John, but since the start of the year ...
0
votes
1answer
58 views

“Take the weight off your feet”: offensive?

I kind of have the impression that the phrase, "take the weight off your feet," is offensive towards fat people (sorry couldn't think of any PC terms). Is my impression correct? or have I just ...
2
votes
3answers
240 views

Pretty Please and Similar Phrases

I was wondering who uses 'pretty please?' Is it used mainly by girls? Under what circumstances? Thank you for replying.
1
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2answers
64 views

Usage of “acknowledge” [closed]

Is it acceptable to write "We acknowledge Dr. AAA for his useful advice" to express gratitude or appreciation?
0
votes
5answers
116 views

Is it appropriate or polite to say 'I am here to educate you'?

When doing a presentation, is the following introduction I am here to educate you (or) Let me educate you considered polite to say to an audience?
-2
votes
1answer
94 views

Is it appropriate to use question marks in email? [closed]

I am a student and write to professors frequently. And often, I have to use sentences like this - Could you give me an appointment to meet you regarding this matter. I am usually confused ...
2
votes
4answers
146 views

Is there a more tactful way to tell someone they are “difficult to work with”?

I want to tell someone they have been “difficult to work with” in writing, but I don’t want to put it quite so directly. Is there another way to write it so that doesn’t sound as if it were some ...
4
votes
2answers
120 views

Males, Females, Girls and Guys

Is there a predominant pattern of usage of the terms girls and guys based on age of the described individuals? Are the patterns the same in the US and UK? At about what age is it considered ...
-1
votes
8answers
978 views

A 'polite' way to say that someone is fat [closed]

Can you help in finding an adjective or expression that you can use to tell a persons that they are fat or overweight in a as neutral as possible way. The overweight person in question is very ...
5
votes
9answers
832 views

What is a female or gender neutral form of gentleman that relays the same tone of respect? [duplicate]

At my office when referring to customers or external vendors I often use the word gentleman. I do this in effort to show that I’m speaking respectfully about them so the content and tone of my ...
14
votes
5answers
1k views

What is the best way of conveying respect to elders in English? [duplicate]

In Afrikaans, it is considered very disrespectful to use "you" ( "jy") when referring to someone who is above the level of a peer. Instead, it is expected that you use "u", which is a very respectful ...
0
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2answers
616 views

What would be your reply if someone asks you, “How do you do?” [duplicate]

What would be your reply, if someone asks you How do you do?
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6answers
1k views

How to say “I'm sorry for such a bother” [closed]

I am in the middle of constructing my email to my colleague and I am out of words on how to say "I'm sorry for such a bother". Is there any other way of saying it politely?
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votes
4answers
578 views

What is the expected response to someone saying “Happy Vacations” to you? [closed]

Someone has messaged me: Happy vacations. Are the following replies correct? Now it would be good. Same to you too! Or should it be Same to you too! Now it would be good. I want it to sound ...
1
vote
2answers
86 views

Is “Can you carry this book?” acceptable? [closed]

Is it grammatically correct to say: Can you carry this book? I said this to a friend and this person commented that I need to learn grammar. To me the statement seems grammatically correct and ...
1
vote
3answers
333 views

How can I ask someone if they are male or female politely? [duplicate]

In my daily work I communicate with a lot of people in my company that I have neither encountered in person nor heard them on phone. The conversation is usually e-mail or online chat. Some of them ...
10
votes
9answers
5k views

What do you mean when you ask “How are you?”

I have been asked one simple question many times by Americans: "How are you?". I know this does not mean that the person I am talking to wants to know how I feel, but sometimes I see that they repeat ...
0
votes
2answers
202 views

How do you address people at the beginning of a conversation?

I will have a visa interview (for the US) in a few days and I would like to know how I address people in a conversation. Especially, I would like to know the differences between the following: Sir ...
2
votes
4answers
1k views

Can “your reputation precedes you” be used as a negative statement?

I have always considered "your reputation precedes you" as a gesture of complement and respect. However it occurred to me if it is possible to use it for a notorious person with a bad reputation? ...
1
vote
5answers
149 views

I want to refer to Bill Gates on his blog with respect in the comments section

One way to address Bill Gates with respect would be to simply write Sir, but I don't want other readers to get confused about who I'm referring to. How do I refer to him with respect without creating ...
2
votes
4answers
198 views

Polite way to suggest talking about something

Is there a polite way to tell somebody that you want to tell him something, but only if he allows you to? For example, I'm talking to my friend and I want to tell him something about cats, but I'm not ...
1
vote
2answers
180 views

Thanks for having me [duplicate]

Is it common/correct to say "thanks for having me" after an interviewer says to you "thank you for coming to this interview"? Thanks :) Update: I'm referring to a job interview. (Thanks for pointing ...
1
vote
1answer
44 views

Proper etiquette for addressing comittee members [closed]

I am writing a formal letter to three committee members, that I would like to address by name. Instinctively, I chose to address them in order of importance/pertinence, but I am also considering ...
1
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5answers
351 views

How to say “I don't believe you” in a more academic way?

How to say "I don't believe you" in a more academic way? I need to say it to my teacher and I do not know how to say it, not to make her mad...
0
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5answers
9k views

I would like to kindly ask you could you check…?

I just want to know I would like to kindly ask you could you check......? could be a right structure for asking question? regards
3
votes
4answers
166 views

Is “has made it his business to” polite or impolite?

In this sentence: He has made it his business to reintroduce the theory to a new generation of activists. Is "has made it his business to" an impolite expression? Is it a radical expression? ...
0
votes
2answers
452 views

Polite way to inform that there is no need to reply (business language) [closed]

I am often requesting my colleges via email to update a status of a case they work on. The update (note) should be provided in application they work on which is also explained in my request. There is ...
1
vote
1answer
14k views

Reply to “I hope you are well”? [closed]

What is the most appropriate response to "I hope you are well"? What are your reasons for choosing one reply above another? Replies I've thought of: I am very well, thanks. How are you? I am very ...
3
votes
2answers
401 views

Is the word “queer” an accepted and polite word for lesbian?

I was reading an article on the promulgation of the dental dam as a means of preventing sexually transmitted disease. Article here. The author of the article Arielle Duhaime-Ross consistently refers ...
11
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21answers
3k views

What is a word to describe a statement that seems meaningless

Is there a phrase or word in the English language that describes a statement or a discourse that seems meaningless or so broad it lacks value? For example Society grows best when those who plant ...
0
votes
2answers
1k views

When should we say 'Thanks' and when, 'Thank you'? [closed]

While I'm communicating with my colleagues and clients, I used to say 'Thanks' and 'Thank you'. I normally use 'Thank you' when I want to express it to a single person usually through e-mails, ...
23
votes
32answers
8k views

Alternative ways to say “I cannot answer that question”? [closed]

I'm getting bored of repeating the same "I can't answer that" phrase over and over. I'm trying other phrases, like "I'll leave that to your imagination," but that one sounds too weird. Specifically, ...
2
votes
2answers
105 views

Using the word “doc”

Merriam-Webster obviously says that the word is an abbreviation for doctor, and I also acknowledge the fact that it's less formal than doctor. My question is: when talking to your doctor, would it be ...
2
votes
1answer
296 views

Are “of course” and “naturally” pedantic?

I've noticed that in most cases, the sentence "of course", is used when someone is trying to sound superior, in a sardonic way. In constranst they use "naturally" when they are patronising someone, ...
2
votes
2answers
184 views

How to respond to funeral request [closed]

This may not be the correct site for this question but I couldn't find a better alternative. How do I respond to this kind of question; So I'd like you to be the pianist for my funeral. Is that ...
1
vote
2answers
169 views

Polite request regarding availability

How do I ask if a person is available and to inform me, in a polite way?
1
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4answers
130 views

Does “nattering” have a negative connotation?

I hear people saying that they're "having a natter" with their friends, or 'If you want to have a natter about starting a project, give me a call!'. On different websites there are different ...
1
vote
1answer
216 views

“Can” or “could”, which is grammatically correct?

I'm a call center agent. When I ask to transfer the call to the authorized person, which form should I use: Can I speak to...? or Could I speak to...?
3
votes
3answers
7k views

“Much obliged” — Old-fashioned? Polite? Pedantic?

I've heard someone say "Much obliged!" a couple of times, instead of the usual "Thank you!". A common phrase in Portuguese ("Muito Obrigado") and maybe other languages, but certainly unusual in ...