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

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-2
votes
1answer
233 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
340 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
182 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
5k 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
10k 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
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6answers
16k 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
107 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
828 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 ...
11
votes
12answers
12k 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
405 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
5answers
6k 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
189 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
449 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
873 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
62 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 ...
2
votes
5answers
707 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
votes
5answers
28k 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
326 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
764 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
43k 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
960 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
votes
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
6k 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, ...
24
votes
32answers
10k 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
3answers
198 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
424 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
302 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
299 views

Polite request regarding availability

How do I ask if a person is available and to inform me, in a polite way?
1
vote
4answers
195 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
291 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...?
5
votes
5answers
19k 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 ...
1
vote
5answers
3k views

How can I politely express that “I have understood”?

When my professor instructs me during his/her office hour, I may simply show my understanding by "Got it" or "I see". But I wonder how to say that politely and professionally in written English, ...
1
vote
1answer
140 views

Is “platonic” generally appropriate?

Specifically, I'm wondering about the definition about relationships: of, relating to, or having a close relationship in which there is no romance or sex. Is "platonic" generally appropriate? ...
1
vote
2answers
118 views

What is the correct phrase to ask to determine which group a first nations person considers themselves to be part of?

I met a women who I gathered was First Nations (or something like that). I struggled to ask the question to elicit the response to find more about her heritage and culture. What is the word that ...
0
votes
1answer
673 views

Is asking “come again?” to a complete stranger over the phone rude?

My Irish colleague told me that when talking to a customer over the phone asking:"come again?" is considered rude and even offensive since it is very informal and almost demanding. Now I did not ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

How do I ask permission to override a course? [closed]

I need override for a course I want to take next semester. Instructor has asked to email him asking permission. What should I write in the email? Respected sir/madam, I need prerequisite ...
2
votes
4answers
2k views

In English, how do we use the polite form of address to somebody? [duplicate]

In French (my mother language), in order to be polite, we use "vous" (the second person of plurial) when we talk to another person who deserves respect (a boss, a teacher, etc.) and "tu" for a close ...
1
vote
3answers
2k views

Formal way of saying “when you are in need”

How can I write following in a formal way? It will help you when you are in need. It will help you when it is required. It will help you when needed. It will help you when you required to be helped. ...
2
votes
1answer
514 views

Is absence of the person needed in “On someone's behalf”?

In the middle of a conversation he had with my father, [Mr. X] asked him: “What does your son want to do in future?”. “He wants to do religious studies,” my father replied. He talked on my behalf ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

How does one address a blended family in which the members have different surnames?

I am confused about how to address a family in which all the members have kept their original surname. What is the proper way to address such a family in a note to a family which consists of a single ...
2
votes
4answers
24k views

What should be the proper reply for thanks?

I like a girl which is in same division as I am. Recently she was suffering from malaria and when I came to know this I sent a "Get well soon!" message. We have hardly exchanged any words in labs and ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

“Dear Sir” or “Dear John” if you are addressing the VP of a company

How to address the VP of a company or department? I have been told that addressing by name was not polite. Any clues?
0
votes
1answer
213 views

“ I don't know what you are saying”

During my seminar when my teacher asked a question, rather than saying that "I am not able to understand what you are asking", I said "I don't know what you are saying" due to anxiety of being ...
1
vote
2answers
728 views

How to end a resolved support ticket email? [closed]

What is the best way to word an email meant to close a "help desk ticket" submitted via e-mail? For instance, Bob sends an email to Support Team with a problem. After the Support Team solves the ...
-3
votes
1answer
146 views

Shall I Questions [closed]

Shall I find out for you? Shall I open the door for you? Shall I pull these curtains back now? Please, I want to choose one of the following for each question. a) Do you want that I ...
2
votes
2answers
270 views

Can one say 'hi' to a person older than oneself? [closed]

Would it be appropriate to say 'Hi', for example, to a person at the ticket window who is seemingly much older than yourself? Would it be a different case, say in Australia, where people usually ...
11
votes
3answers
491 views

“God bless you” equivalent for fart?

In response to someone sneezing there are a few possible phrases you can say as a form of polite acknowledgement: "God bless you" "Gesundheit" And others. But with a fart you laugh, deride ...