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

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1answer
360 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
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2answers
597 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
886 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
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2answers
954 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. ...
3
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1answer
231 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 ...
2
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2answers
503 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
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3answers
8k 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
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2answers
565 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
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1answer
134 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
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2answers
395 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 ...
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votes
1answer
89 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
212 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
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3answers
383 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 ...
-2
votes
3answers
79 views

Enquiry forms on websites [closed]

My university has registered with an online e-book website. But, after downloading an e-book, I was asked for a password. The enquiry that I wrote is: I want to know where can I find passwords for ...
0
votes
3answers
859 views

invalid vs handicap vs disabled [closed]

When is it appropriate to describe a person as an invalid versus handicap versus disabled? My friend broke his leg and could hardly do anything physical. I guess invalid would be the most appropriate ...
3
votes
1answer
3k views

“Would it be” vs “Will it be”

I was writing an email to my colleague and as part of it I wrote Would it be possible for you to help me with this? I felt a bit awkward after sending the mail. Should it be would or will? I ...
1
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2answers
217 views

Two's company; three's a crowd [closed]

Two's company; three's a crowd I have checked here "(Often implies that you want to be alone with the person because you are romantically interested in him or her.)" My question: Could you say that ...
3
votes
1answer
3k views

How do I respond to “family emergency”? [closed]

Someone tells me that he is sorry but he has been absent for a family emergency. Can I say "I hope your family is fine"? I wondered if that's polite in English-speaking culture.
10
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5answers
46k views

“Thank you very much” vs. “Thank you so much”

Some people used to say: Thank you very much. Where others say: Thank you so much. Could anybody please explain what differences there may be between those, whether of correctness or ...
2
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3answers
3k views

Is the expression, “having a good time” too personal?

Me and a colleague were jointly writing an email to an English speaking business partner when a discussion arose on how to formulate a sentence. The business partner is currently on vacation, so I ...
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0answers
3k views

Using first names with the titles Mr. and Mrs [closed]

It is proper to use the first names with Mr. & Mrs.? For example, in the invitation of an anniversary party, can one say the following: Celebrate the anniversaryof Mr. and Mrs. James and ...
17
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3answers
4k views

May you please explain this?

At a family dinner, my 18 year-old niece asked my sister, "May you please pass the salt?" My sister said that she was impressed with her daughter's politeness, but that that particular wording was ...
-3
votes
1answer
89 views

Using “tell me” word on callI [closed]

I usually use the "tell me" on calls. For example when I pick up call I like to answer in this way: "Yes John, tell me" Is it a good practice to talk on call in this way?
3
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5answers
13k views

“Would” vs. “Will”

Which of the following sentences is correct and why? Please note that I "will" be working on another script this month. Please note that I "would" be working on another script this month. I should ...
1
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4answers
542 views

Is “How do you … ?” a polite question to ask the right way to do things? [closed]

Sometimes I feel uncomfortable to say "How do you spell xxx ?". It sounds like asking his or her own way of spelling a word implicating that I am not necessarily expecting the correct answer. Is "How ...
3
votes
4answers
596 views

Is it customary to call the former President George W. Bush “W.”, and Mrs. Bush “Bar”, in public?

Maureen Dowd deals with the comments of the former first lady, Barbara Bush in NBC’s the Today Show in her article titled ‘Silver Fox’s pink slip’ in New York Times (April 27): “Asked on the ...
0
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0answers
49 views

Which form of address in motivation letter? [duplicate]

I am writing a motivation letter for a university in London, and I wanted to know which form of address is common? Dear Sir or Madam To whom it may concern Thanks in advance.
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2answers
2k views

Telling someone that they are rude [closed]

I happened to tell a co-worker today "I'm sorry to say this, but I think you are being rude by asking me to do XYZ despite me telling you repeatedly that I'm not going to be able to do it". I ...
1
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6answers
1k views

Polite/professional alternative to 'It turns out'

I have been tasked with coming up with a nicer phrase to use than 'It turns out'. It is to be used in situations like the below: 'It turns out' that we cannot... 'It turns out' that we ...
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votes
1answer
1k views

Is this a polite way to ask questions? [closed]

I want to send questions to someone, I want to ask you if this way is polite and if there are better ways: I want to ask you questions, your answers would be appreciated I want to ask you ...
3
votes
0answers
13k views

Is 'friendly reminder' a positive word? What is an alternative with a friendly undertone? [closed]

I send reminders to my customers all the time. And, I hesitate to use the word 'friendly reminder'. I interpret it as a soft reminders before aggressive reminders. It brings up an image of a thug ...
1
vote
2answers
270 views

What is a polite way to call something a conspiracy theory?

"Conspiracy" has acquired a negative connotation. [Edit: As pointed out in the comments, it has always had a negative connotation.] If you tell or even insinuate to someone that what they are saying ...
2
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1answer
4k views

Could I address someone by first name in business emails if he/she addresses me by first name?

I am really not sure about when it is appropriate to use someone's first name in business emails. If someone addresses me by my first name, but signs his email officially — full name, plus title, ...
2
votes
1answer
765 views

Is “pal” too informal when the other person is much older than me? [closed]

I have an online friend (here on StackExchange) and I happen to know that he is significantly "more experienced", he's a professor while I'm a student, and his contribution here is larger than mine. ...
0
votes
1answer
407 views

What should I say to people when I am passing them by?

I am talking about situations when you want to greet someone, without stopping to talk to them. In Russian, people usually say "добрый день" which means "hello." This is a greeting, not a valediction. ...
3
votes
3answers
980 views

British term for 'washroom'? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “Washroom”, “restroom”, “bathroom”, “lavatory”, “toilet” or “toilet room” What is the British equivalent of the American 'washroom'? (Besides 'loo', of course, as it is ...
1
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3answers
3k views

“You got it” vs. “I got it”

When I watch TV drams or movies, I sometimes come across the expressions “I got it” and “You got it” meaning “I will do as you ask”. I am wondering if there is any semantic or pragmatic differences ...
2
votes
2answers
861 views

Should personal pronouns always be placed at the end of a list? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “My friends and I” vs. “My friends and me” vs. “Me and my friends” Is naming the first person last proper grammar or just proper manners? “Julio and I” vs “I and Julio” ...
3
votes
4answers
4k views

“May I know your good name?” [closed]

“May I know your good name” is a typically Indian way of honouring the other person (who is previously unknown) by asking their name using an adjective like sweet, good, beautiful, et cetera — and of ...
2
votes
5answers
55k views

Is it correct to say “I kindly request you to…”?

Isn't kindness already implied when you say "I request you to..."? When I say "I humbly request you to...", the word humbly helps me to label the state of my behavior during the request. On the ...
1
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2answers
421 views

Can I ask a practical question like this “how am I supposed to know something”

Lets say I am working on a project with 2 other people and there is some information that I need to work, so Can I ask like this: Can you please tell me "How am I supposed to run this script?". ...
6
votes
6answers
3k views

What do students call their teacher in class? [closed]

Well, years ago I was an English teacher in an English Teaching Institute. In the country I live, students call their teachers by saying "Mr. Teacher" or "Teacher" (literally translated) in schools. ...
2
votes
4answers
2k views

What is the formal way of saying “You have got something wrong”?

Let's say that I am working with my manager; he made some mistake which I have identified, and I want to point that out to him. So is there any polite way of saying "You have got it wrong."? (By the ...
5
votes
5answers
963 views

Is there any reason why English doesn’t add respectful words in every sentence? [closed]

My mother tongue, Korean, and its neighbor Japanese have postpositions for expressing honoring the opposite in each sentence when we say to seniors or strangers if these are younger than the speaker. ...
6
votes
6answers
2k views

Is using the last name of a person without a title an accepted way of addressing?

I always heard people use Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms before people's names and that is how, I thought, it was done until I watched one of those Harry Potter films in which Malfoy (Sr) addresses Albus Dumbledore ...
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2answers
237 views

Present continuous form for a polite question?

Should we use use the present continuous form "would you mind if" to ask a polite question?
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2answers
5k views

polite way to ask someone to be patient? [closed]

I have seen the following line in mail replies from customer care executives - Thanks for your patience They write this when they are not yet ready with a desired solution. They write in the ...
0
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2answers
2k views

What is the courteous alternative of “Do you understand what I say?”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “Does it make sense?” or “Do you understand me?”? "Do you get me?", "Do you get my point?", etc? What is the courteous alternative of "Do you understand what I say?"?
5
votes
1answer
637 views

How do words become derogatory or politically incorrect?

I know how words can become racist but I'm not sure how a word becomes derogatory or politically incorrect. If seems as though once one does, a new term is created to replace it that is not derogatory ...
5
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4answers
696 views

Bless your heart

Is "bless your heart" something only used by old women in the South (all I've ever heard)? Or is it ever appropriate for a man to use it without seeming unmanly? Does the term always have ...