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

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1answer
466 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
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3answers
1k 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
4k 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
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2answers
1k 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
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4answers
6k 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 ...
3
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5answers
67k 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
524 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
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6answers
4k 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
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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 ...
4
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5answers
1k 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
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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
262 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
7k 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
711 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
802 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 ...
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9answers
2k views

Is saying “who cares” impolite or rude?

Two people are talking about what tasks should be finished on time, and what tasks should be put off until later. The conversation was like below: A: I don't think those tasks are important. We ...
2
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3answers
3k views

Dear Dr. vs Hi vs none in E-mail communication [closed]

I am in contact with the my doctor by email. We exchange about 3 messages per week, today we exchanged 2 messages. Now I have a situation where I think it is a bit silly to write each time Dear Dr. ...
2
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3answers
2k views

Condolence message: “I was sorry” vs. “I am sorry”

What is the difference in nuance between the following statements? Which would be more appropriate for a letter of condolence? I was sorry to hear that your mother has passed away. I am sorry ...
2
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3answers
4k views

Meaning of various valedictions or closing expressions

Related to, but I believe distinct from, the following questions: What does the "yours" in "yours sincerely" mean? What are some expressions that can be used to end an email? ...
12
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5answers
44k views

Popular alternatives to “thank you”

The context for my question might be a bit strange. I have stuttering and therefore I have some difficulties pronouncing some words starting with particular phonetics. And I've found that if a ...
2
votes
2answers
16k views

Is it wrong to say “I hope this does not inconvenience you in any way”? [closed]

I recently had a dilemma regarding this. While the above sentence sounds okay to my ears, "I hope this does not cause any inconvenience to you" sounds more grammatically correct. Which one is correct? ...
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3answers
1k views

'Sorry, have you got the time, please?'

In this programme from BBC sorry is used in addition to excuse me to get one's attention: Sorry, have you got the time (please)? So I am wondering: 1) Is sorry common for a native speaker to ...
3
votes
6answers
21k views

Is the expression “see you when I see you” impolite?

Once, I have received feedback that using "see you when I see you" is not very polite. Do you have the same opinion? What other expression should I use in case I have no clue when I will see the ...
3
votes
3answers
363 views

I am afraid I look servile when I say “please” [closed]

In Korea, when I say "please", others think that I am servile. In English, do I look servile when I use "please" in conversation? I want to know the intensity of the word "please" in servility.
2
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4answers
29k views

How to ask in a polite way

I am an international student in the U.S.A. I am writing an email and I am stuck on one sentence. I would like to say: "Do you know when I can get the flyers?" I would like to make the sentence more ...
7
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4answers
2k views

Is there a word to describe female between 'girl' and 'woman'?

I've been trying to find a word that describes someone that's older than a 'girl' but not yet a 'woman'. It seems the connotation of girl is an immature female that's still growing up. Whereas a woman ...
2
votes
2answers
494 views

How can I politely tell a customer that we only provide e-mail support? [closed]

I'm running an online e-commerce site but use only e-mails for customer service to cut the expense. When a customer asks me by e-mail if he/she can call me for some questions, how can I politely ...
4
votes
3answers
3k views

What does “I'm sure you understand” mean? Is it rude?

This expression seems to be used even when the speaker does not expect the other person to agree with them. What would the intention of the speaker be? Is the expression considered rude?
2
votes
1answer
779 views

Is it rude to say “how did you end up here”? [closed]

Is it rude to say, "how did you end up here?" to a teacher? I said it to my English teacher, and then thought, "damn, I don't know if I'm supposed to phrase it that way or not." So, is it?
2
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7answers
9k views

Polite phrase to ask for details [closed]

Usually, I send to a client "Cover Letter" with phrase "May I get the details?", if I need to get more information about his project. Suddenly, I have discovered that it is not very polite. And now I ...
1
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3answers
584 views

“thanks to (command)”

A friend who works in business says that she has been hearing a lot of polite commands worded as e.g. "thanks to ask any questions at the end of the presentation" (she has also seen this written a few ...
6
votes
2answers
17k views

Is “I'm screwed” a rude expression?

Is "I'm screwed" a rude expression, or can it be used when someone tries to say they made a mistake? I overheard it from someone who seemed to have failed at his task.
0
votes
1answer
4k views

Etiquette of using the wrong sign-off in a formal letter? [closed]

I just sent a formal business correspondence to a company via email. The letter starts with "To Whom It May Concern", but I rather clumsily used the wrong sign-off (Yours sincerely). How much of a ...
1
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3answers
1k views

Addressing a former office-holder by that office's title [closed]

When is it appropriate to use an "expired" honorific to address or refer to a person? In the U.S., former state governors are occasionally referred to as "Governor So-and-so", although they have not ...
3
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3answers
1k views

Should I use “the wife” or “my wife”?

I am not sure whether the best form when speaking of my spouse in everyday English is the wife or my wife. I commonly read the wife (or the girlfriend) in reference to the author's significant other, ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

“…and me” or “me and…” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “Me and my wife” or “my wife and me” I keep seeing that it's just courtesy to put yourself last in a list of nouns. eg. "They went to the game ...
3
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6answers
2k views

Should one ever use the word “please” in an order or demand?

A police officer who pulls over a driver might ask to see his “license and registration, please.” Similarly, a border official might ask for a “passport, please.” However, in these situations, the ...
5
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5answers
2k views

Is it always appropriate to reciprocate when asked “How are you?” [closed]

This question is related to When someone asks how are you, are you supposed to answer, "Good," or "Fine," and ask back?. There, the answer by z7sg Ѫ claims it is sometimes appropriate not to ...
2
votes
2answers
861 views

How to suggest contrary solution politely?

Theoretical case: client suggests some non-optimal solution. How to offer another, better solution politely with indirect question? Is it ok to say "Don't you think doing it this way would be more ...
8
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3answers
9k views

“May I ask if…”

A question like: May I ask if you've seen it all? Can yield two answers: Yes, I've seen it all. Yes, you may ask. Can you avoid this (the may-answer), remaining a tad more polite than usual? ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Letter opening with name only--what does it convey?

I sometimes get emails (e.g. from professional contacts or people I don't know well) which simply start with FirstName, [ ... letter body ... ] They don't use "Dear FirstName," or "Hello ...
2
votes
1answer
5k views

“would like you to” vs. “please”

I am writing an email, in which I would like to ask for something but I don't want to be very direct. I came up with the following two constructions: In addition, I will not be receiving my ...
4
votes
2answers
27k views

Is “received with thanks” stilted English?

I just got a receipt which said "Received with thanks the sum of ..." Thanks stands for gratitude, so this looks fine to me as far as grammar is concerned. But is this old-fashioned and/or stilted? ...
2
votes
1answer
756 views

Is the use of ellipses… rude? [closed]

Coming from the UK and in my experience in writing to people on-line, it seems that some cultures that use the English language do not understand that ellipses in communication can come across as ...
4
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3answers
6k views

“Would you have a suggestion?” Vs. “Do you have a suggestion?”

If you were asking for suggestions, say at stackexchange, what would be the most polite grammatically accurate version: Statement of the problem followed by: 1. Do you have a suggestion? 2. Would ...
2
votes
1answer
3k views

How to ask for a repeat in different way politely? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How do you decide which phrase to use when asking people to repeat what they said? If I can't understand what someone said very well, how to ask him to repeat his words, ...
0
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3answers
2k views

“How about” and politeness

Is it polite to use "how about..." in formal message or it will suit for close relations only? What should I use instead for stranger or boss? UPD: Example: You have just provided me with your phone ...
19
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10answers
11k views

Is “Yankee” derogatory?

I have heard of the term "Yankee" often referring to people in the Northern U.S. by Southerners. My question is: is this term considered derogatory or offensive and should it be avoided in formal ...
-2
votes
1answer
790 views

Questions with 'would' [closed]

Why most questions in English get asked with 'would'? Grammar books say that it's used for making a polite request, but doesn't talk about the grammar of the 'would' part. Do we have to answer ...