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

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4answers
2k views

Asking a permission to ask a question by saying the word Question, followed by the actual question

My Mom does something that irks me. Either when she calls me, or sends me an e-mail, she says or writes "Question." Then asks whatever question it is. I find this rude. In my opinion starting the ...
3
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3answers
880 views

What is the polite way to acknowledge a pregnant lady after a long hiatus? [closed]

I knew her well, but I see her again when she's 7-months pregnant. Do I say, "Congrats on the upcoming baby?"
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6answers
2k views

How can I greet a group of teachers?

Suppose I'm walking in my school corridor and there are 4–5 teachers standing in the hallway. How can I greet them all at once? Anything better than "Greetings, teachers"?
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13answers
9k views

Is there a polite alternative to “No thanks, I'm full”?

English is not my native language, but when I was studying in the US, I was always trying to find an alternative to I'm full! I felt that it was a very improper way to express that I have eaten ...
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2answers
2k views

How rude is “to eat like a pig”?

How rude is it to say : People eat crabs like a pig. Maybe it's not rude in plural sense like the above example but when you talk directly to someone? Also other terms which relate humans to ...
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4answers
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“you” versus “You” as polite form of writing

Is it correct to write "You" with a capital Y as a form of politeness? If yes, should I use that form throughout the entire letter/document, or only at specific places?
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6answers
48k views

How do you respond back to “Hi, How is it going?”

I have observed that people from America, greet by asking, "Hi, how is it going?". I usually say, "It is going good" and return a smile. Sometimes, I have observed people saying "Thank you" and ...
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5answers
2k views

Are “Conditional apology” and “poisoned apology”, rude?

I've heard I'm sorry your frog is dead. I'm sorry if your frog's death causes you pain. I'm sorry my taunting you about your frog's death caused you pain. You should seek therapy. Do the ...
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5answers
4k views

What are the polite and neutral versions of “cut the bull*’?

I was wondering what are the polite and neutral versions of cut the bullshit? Suppose one calls his mobile customer service for signal problem, but the representative endlessly tries to promote ...
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3answers
3k views

Correct response to “Pardon me”

My young son recently started saying "Pardon me" after, for example, burping. We try to praise, or at least respond, when he does something right, as encouragement and as a form of learning. This ...
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2answers
40k views

Is “nice to meet you” an appropriate online salutation?

When one makes a new acquaintance with somebody in person, you may say "it was nice to meet you", e.g. when you leave. What if you make a new acquaintance over the internet, what do you say when you ...
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2answers
9k views

“Thanks for having me”

Recently, I finished my phone job interview with the phrase "Thanks for having me". It was a reply to the other person's "Thank you for your time". So, does "thanks for having me" sound alright in ...
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0answers
429 views

Why do people sometimes apologize when there is no need to? [closed]

An example that comes to mind would be I'm sorry, I just don't agree with you. There are better examples which I can't remember at the moment.
4
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4answers
564 views

Is it considered rude language to omit interrogatives in speech?

At least, I think the proper word is interrogatives. But, for example, in proper sentence structure, you would see sentences such as, Are you still here, Alouicious? Is there a doctor in the ...
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5answers
2k views

Is it rude to call a gay person “homosexual?”

I was talking to one of my co-workers today. We have two homosexual persons in our office. I forgot one's name, so I asked my co-worker, "What's his name?" My co-worker said "Who?", and I replied, ...
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2answers
8k views

When to call first name or last name? [closed]

For example, a man's name is Jeff Smith. My question is: When should I call him "Jeff"? When should I call him "Smith"? When should I call him "Jeff Smith"? in western.
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6answers
114k views

“All The Best” vs “Best of Luck”

I heard somewhere that if we wish someone younger than us then say "Best of luck" and if we wish someone older than us then say " All The best". I don't know how much of this is true. Will you ...
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2answers
3k views

Answer to “enjoy your meal”

When you're having lunch and you see someone he can say "enjoy your meal", "bon appétit" or "enjoy". I can answer him by saying "thank you", for instance. But for example in Spanish we usually say a ...
12
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7answers
3k views

Is it appropriate to call a British person a “Brit”?

Specifically, is it appropriate for a non-British person to call a British person a "Brit"? Whenever I see it from an American source it always feels too familiar or too informal, or both. But I can't ...
12
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4answers
969 views

How to ask a knowledge question without causing offence?

By "knowledge question", I mean any sort of question intended to check whether the listener already knows the answer or not. For example: Are you familiar with how an operating system works? Do you ...
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3answers
23k views

“Thank both of you”

Is there a trace first person pronoun before the utterance "thank you", making it shorthand for "I/we thank you"? A ramification of this question is an expression of gratitude I just heard that ...
6
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5answers
861 views

What do I have to say when I enter into a house?

In Italy when you want to enter inside the house of a stranger or also of a friend you knock at the door and say, "Permesso?" meaning, "Can I enter?" or "Do I have the permission to enter in your ...
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4answers
1k views

Alternate, polite word for “Fee”

I want to inquire about fee for Tai Chi course. But, the word "Fee" would not be polite for such martial art. Would there be any alternate word I could use, which is more polite and kind to ask about ...
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5answers
6k views

Is “grammar nazi” politically correct?

I'm not a native English speaker and I'm puzzled where the use of grammar nazi would be appropriate. I have seen it numerous times around the SE network and was wondering when the use would be ...
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7answers
5k views

Is “Can I have a cup of coffee?” polite?

Is "Can I have a cup of coffee?" polite? What if I ask a store employee, "Can I have something?"
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8answers
2k views

Politically correct term for someone who is Internet challenged?

What is the politically correct term for someone who is not very Internet savvy?
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1answer
24k views

'May I speak to…' vs 'May I speak with…' vs 'May I talk to…' [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “Speak to” vs. “Speak with” What is the difference between “speaking” and “talking”? What is the ideal opening line for a phone conversation? In ...
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3answers
2k views

How to ask the gender of someone if you have to? [closed]

In a global company, I often need to address someone in another country without knowing his/her gender in emails with a third person or with a group of people. It's awkward and inefficient to spell ...
12
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6answers
706 views

Will some parents be offended when being asked, “Is it male or female?”

If I ask the parent about a baby's gender, will it be impolite or not appropriate to say, "Is it male or female?" Is there any subtle difference, in terms of politeness, among "Is it a boy or ...
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7answers
869 views

A polite substitution for “lamer”

Is there a polite word that can be used to designate someone who didn't really understand what he or she was doing? Or, in general, someone who is intentionally ignorant of how things work. A "lamer" ...
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12answers
27k views

Are greetings and salutations redundant in an e-mail?

Do I really need to write my email this way? Hi John, [My Message here] Regards, Jane The email header already includes the to and from. The recipient should not be confused by who the ...
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4answers
2k views

Euphemisms for pornography, violence, and hate

My company is creating a website and we want to say that uploading of pornographic, violent, and hateful content is prohibited. Some people at the company think these exact words are too direct, so we ...
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4answers
1k views

What are exchanges like “How are you,” “I'm fine,” and “See you later” called?

Some verbal/written exchanges convey almost no meaning but are part of the protocol of conversation. For example, somebody greets you with "How are you?" and they're not usually not listening for ...
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5answers
48k views

Is it acceptable to drop the comma in “Thanks, John”? [duplicate]

I grew up learning that the comma must be placed there, but it seems like an unnecessary interruption in a phrase that isn't ever spoken that way.
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9answers
9k views

What does “No Thanks!” mean?

Alice: Do you want some cookies? Bob: No thanks! Does it mean that Bob doesn't want cookies but still is thankful or its just opposite of thanks?
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4answers
8k views

Proper answer to “excuse me”

What is a proper reply for excuse me? Like for thank you, you can say no problem or welcome. I don't know what a proper reply for excuse me would be.
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2answers
719 views

What is the correct way to answer a general question?

Is it considered rude to answer a question with a question? For instance: Q. Did you eat those cookies? A. Why? Would the correct response be "Yes I did (or no I did not), why do you ask?"
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3answers
1k views

“very pleased to read your posting” — pleased=happy vs. pleased=satisfied

In a formal context, I would like to tell the author (whom I admire) of a posting that I was happy that I discovered/found it because I did not expect it. I was very pleased to read your posting ...
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2answers
1k views

How to politely request to be called by first name instead of Mr. Surname?

Let's say that somebody from a partner firm with whom I've never spoken before starts an email to me with "Dear Mr. Rossi,". When a reply to her, I think I will then have to start with "Dear Ms. ...
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6answers
10k views

“Good night” or “good evening”?

If it's 7:30pm, which of these phrases is correct, Good night or Good evening?
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4answers
2k views

Why is “bloody” considered obscene in the UK but not in the US?

Why is the word bloody considered obscene in the UK but not so in the US?
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3answers
506 views

Etiquette in responding to service desk email [closed]

I just asked EA Support to send me a serial to my old game(Battlefield 2142) and they did it. Should I replay and say "thx a lot" or should I just enjoy my game and ignore them? EA is an english ...
7
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4answers
30k views

When do I use a question mark with “Could you [please] …”

A sentence like Could you please pass me the pepper shaker is not really a question. Should I use a question mark or a period to end this sentence? What about: Could you let me know when ...
0
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1answer
2k views

Should I refer to a person by his/ her name?

When writing emails, I come across a problem of whether I should refer to that person by name, or just a simple 'Hi'. Like if I don't know say Thomas Anderson and I want to mail him for the first ...
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4answers
10k views

Is either “can” or “could” more polite? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When do I use “can” or “could”? I wonder which of the following is more polite: Can you please change my email address? Could you please change my email ...
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2answers
1k views

Are the expressions “pissed” and “pissed off” inappropriate?

I've seen people go quiet when they hear one of them. I also remember hearing it bleeped on television. Are they inappropriate? To what extent? What audience could or should not hear it?
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2answers
2k views

Ending a note with “Thanks regardless”?

While wanting to properly close a question and thank its participants on one of StackExchange's other sites–the question had resolved itself–I started wondering if "Thanks regardless" is a proper way ...
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1answer
8k views

Politely asking “Why is this taking so long??”

I am trying to write a business email and, as English is not my first language, I'm having a bit of trouble coming up with a really polite way of saying the following: Hi, It's been a week since I ...
2
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1answer
3k views

Correct usage of “Could” and “Can” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When do I use “can” & “could”? In a company, the HR asked me: "Could you please sign here". I want to know whether it is correct or "Can " ...
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2answers
12k views

How do I ask for advice politely?

I came across the following phrase: I was wondering if you might be able to give me some advice. Is it a natural construction for a conversational context? Can I use the following instead in ...