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

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2
votes
0answers
47 views

Is there a politically correct term for illiterate people?

The question says it all. What is the standard, compassionate/politically-correct term for those who lack a literacy education? ...Looking for something a little higher in register and more accurate ...
4
votes
3answers
247 views

What does “talk to the hand” mean?

I saw the phrase "talk to the hand" on many funny stickers which seems like expressing the idea that you want to stop the topic or conversation which you feel uncomfortable or not interested in. But ...
0
votes
1answer
67 views

Removing offensiveness from swear word [closed]

Is there a consensus in terms of the ranking of offensiveness given by the word "damn" and its derivatives? Damn Darn Dang Ding (as in ding-busted) I assume that the less a word sounds like the ...
59
votes
7answers
8k views

What happened to “You're welcome?”

Quite often (9 out of 10 times?), on radio (NPR), when the interviewer says "Thank you" to the interviewee, the reply is also "Thank you." What has happened to "You're welcome?" Why is "You're ...
0
votes
1answer
41 views

Most Appreciated [closed]

I've received a nice comment from a friend, on a work of art that I posted on my Facebook page. I responded with "Most appreciated, amigo!" Is this an acceptable 'thank you'? Or should it be 'much ...
2
votes
2answers
551 views

Are the 'Imperatives' used without 'please' or 'kindly' considered to be rude in the west?

Are imperatives considered rude if they are used without "please" and "kindly"? For example: Go ahead OR Please, go ahead. and Give me the eggs OR Please, give me the eggs
0
votes
2answers
108 views

How do I respond politely to a salesperson? [closed]

When a sales assistant asks "Can I help you?", can I respond with "No, thanks" ? Or are there more common ways of responding, instead of using "No, thanks" ?
0
votes
4answers
85 views

What's the oral address of “fellow student”?

I have known "fellow student" is a formal address and we used this in somewhere formally. But in oral situation, how to introduce a senior student to my friends when we face to face? If I say "this is ...
4
votes
1answer
68 views

Is saying “can you do this for me” rude? [closed]

I recently got into a conversation with a freind who said it's rude to directly ask people without using the word "please" or converting the question to an indirect one. In the US this is the norm and ...
2
votes
1answer
94 views

“Can I Help You?” - Considerate Language, Polite Lead-Ins and Euphemisms

One day I tried to ask a question on a different StackExchange site and got a message: It looks like you might need a break - take a breather and come back soon! What an awfully nice suggestion! ...
0
votes
3answers
196 views

Is it rude to say “none of your business”?

I'm often asked in shops variations of this question: Where are you from? (Which country, zipcode?) Frankly, it's none of their business, but I feel it's somehow rude to say that so directly. ...
2
votes
1answer
228 views

How to politely begin an email to a professor and a doctor? [closed]

Suppose I need to write an letter (email, actually), addressed to two academicians. One is a full professor, and the other does not yet have this title. What is a polite way of opening the letter? If ...
0
votes
2answers
122 views

How should I (or Should I) reply to 'Enjoy' mail?

I sent out a vacation mail to my office group. And a colleague of mine replied to the mail with "Enjoy!". Now Should I reply to this mail?. If yes what would be a proper response to this?.
0
votes
1answer
98 views

How to politely decline to take someone's help? [closed]

So I was looking to take someone's professional service and he offered me a quote. It was too high. So I declined it. Then he offered to give me some unofficial service as a courtesy. All of this ...
43
votes
16answers
6k views

Alternative expression for “xyz Nazi”

I'm not a native English speaker, but I do understand and personally appreciate the use of the term "xyz Nazi" to say that someone is a bit dogmatic about their point of view, without necessarily ...
0
votes
1answer
84 views

Will that be fine?

Quite a few times now, a waiter or shop assistant has asked me: Will that be fine? I've noticed that I've only ever heard Indian English speakers use this turn of phrase. To my (British) ear, ...
3
votes
1answer
56 views

Is “could use” rude?

Is "could use" considered rude? For example: "We could use some extra information" "For this task we could use some help from..." Thank you
8
votes
6answers
3k views

How can I ask, “Why did you send me this link?” in a polite way?

The context is I told someone I'm looking for meetups in my area to network with certain people and this person sent me a link that does not seem relevant at all. How do I ask, "Why did you send me ...
0
votes
1answer
144 views

Is it rude to tell someone “do whatever you want”? does it mean you care less?

Would it be impolite to tell someone "do whatever you want" if you have been asked "what was the right thing to do"? does it mean you care less?
0
votes
0answers
45 views

Way to ask interviewer (/speaking examiner) to repeat slowly its question [duplicate]

The accent of a speaking examiner is sometimes difficult to understand completely. Asking him to repeat his question is a delicate action that should be handled correctly, in my consideration. ...
1
vote
1answer
479 views

saying thanks to someone answering your email ASAP who is important for you [closed]

Which of these sentences sounds more american? and which sounds more polite against who is important for you like a professor or boss? first: Thanks for your prompt response second: Thanks ...
-1
votes
1answer
53 views

What verb goes with “mood” in the context of a polite social inquiry?

How would I best ask someone to share their mood with me? It needs to be snappy and easily understood. For example, given these three choices of verb: share your mood express your mood convey your ...
25
votes
9answers
5k views

What is a polite way of talking about a recently-deceased person?

In my language (Arabic), we say things that can be translated to: Mr X, God have mercy on him, was .. Mr X, God puts him in heaven, was. . . . Mr X, God forgive him, was. . . . How does one talk ...
2
votes
1answer
234 views

What should we call our elder cousin's wife? [closed]

We don’t call our cousins cousin Somebody the way we do with uncles and aunts; we just refer to them by their given name directly. But sometimes we cannot use their name to address them, such as if ...
0
votes
4answers
115 views

Nice way to say “exclude”

I have a bunch of components I have included into a new project. I drew a pretty picture showing all of them, color coding the ones I selected, then showing the conglomeration. I went to write up the ...
1
vote
2answers
183 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?
28
votes
12answers
9k 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 ...
0
votes
7answers
2k views

“At my earliest convenience” [closed]

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
82 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
votes
0answers
70 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
276 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
180 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
101 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
206 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
131 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
148 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
140 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
75 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
1k 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
vote
2answers
129 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
148 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
215 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
296 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
160 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
4k 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
2k 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
votes
2answers
7k 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?
0
votes
6answers
12k 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?
0
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...