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

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3answers
1k 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 ...
12
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12answers
17k 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
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2answers
1k 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
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6answers
15k 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? ...
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5answers
218 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
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4answers
681 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 ...
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2answers
2k 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
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1answer
68 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
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5answers
1k 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...
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5answers
69k 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
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4answers
423 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
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2answers
1k 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 ...
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1answer
103k 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
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2answers
2k 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 ...
13
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21answers
5k 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
17k 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
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32answers
14k 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
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3answers
394 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
610 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
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2answers
410 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
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2answers
462 views

Polite request regarding availability

How do I ask if a person is available and to inform me, in a polite way?
2
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4answers
321 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
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1answer
593 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...?
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5answers
33k 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 ...
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5answers
8k 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
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1answer
151 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? ...
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2answers
176 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
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1answer
902 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 ...
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2answers
5k 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 ...
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3answers
3k 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
988 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 ...
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3answers
2k 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 ...
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4answers
40k 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 ...
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2answers
2k 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
340 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 ...
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2answers
2k 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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1answer
206 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
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2answers
409 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
627 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
88 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
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3answers
3k 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 ...
0
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3answers
41k views

Is it rude to say “Thanks for asking”?

My manager recently asked me "How I was doing? Everything Ok?". I felt happy that he asked me that question, and felt that he was really concerned about me. I was doing good. So I told him that and ...
3
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1answer
10k 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 ...
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2answers
1k 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
8k 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.
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5answers
134k 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
11k 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 ...
17
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3answers
19k 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 ...
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1answer
106 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?