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

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12
votes
6answers
729 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 ...
7
votes
7answers
940 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" ...
27
votes
12answers
28k 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 ...
2
votes
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 ...
13
votes
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 ...
8
votes
5answers
57k 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.
15
votes
9answers
11k 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?
7
votes
4answers
9k 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.
1
vote
2answers
786 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?"
0
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
2k 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. ...
7
votes
6answers
13k views

“Good night” or “good evening”?

If it's 7:30pm, which of these phrases is correct, Good night or Good evening?
9
votes
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?
0
votes
3answers
531 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
36k 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
votes
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 ...
6
votes
4answers
11k 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 ...
3
votes
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?
5
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
9k 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
votes
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 " ...
6
votes
4answers
14k 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
66k views

What is the meaning of “I am humbled”?

From a recent article on CNN: Aboukhadijeh, who is from Sacramento, California, said he's been blown away by how quickly his tool went viral and is grateful for all the supportive feedback. ...
8
votes
6answers
6k views

Response to “God Bless” when parting company

What should the correct response be (from someone not overtly religious) if someone says "God bless" when parting company? "Bye now" or "Bye" doesn't seem an adequate response.
70
votes
16answers
129k views

How do native English speakers respond to “Thank you”?

In my school and university I was taught to say "Not at all" or "Don't mention it" in response to "Thank you!". Now I rarely hear these phrases used, but rather something like "You're welcome", "It's ...
8
votes
4answers
3k views

Is “not at all” still alive and doing well?

I was taught to use "not at all" as a rather polite, standard reply to "thank you". However, I don't see it being used at all nowadays. Can I still use it? Would it be widely understood? Should I be ...
29
votes
5answers
122k views

“My friends and I” vs. “My friends and me” vs. “Me and my friends”

I've always been taught to put myself last when referring to myself in the same sentence as others but the usage of "me and..." seems to be everywhere these days. The misuse of the word "me" instead ...
23
votes
6answers
48k views

How should I ask for a bill in a restaurant politely?

I used to say check please, but my English teacher said that it's wrong, and the proper way is to say something like bill please. What's the truth?
15
votes
2answers
925 views

Tendency of using pronouns 'she/her' when talking about a random person

Reading different specifications and manuals I've noticed that more often and often pronouns she or her are being used when some unknown person's behavior is described. For example: "when user opens ...
18
votes
19answers
16k views

What is a less offensive synonym for “retarded”?

I occasionally use "retarded" when chastising myself or other friends. I know it's not Politically Correct, but am I only allowed to say stupid? How long before we can't say that anymore? Other ...
16
votes
2answers
37k views

In what cases should I use a comma after “please”?

As far as I can see from different texts, there seems to be no strict rule about putting comma after "Please" when it is used as an introduction to a request. Am I right? In what cases using comma ...
11
votes
3answers
4k views

How do I ask a question politely?

When I was growing up, if I ever said something similar to "Can I go to the store with Joe?", my mom would correct me with "May I go to the store with Joe?". Is "May I?" the typical way to ask a ...
34
votes
6answers
55k views

When do I use “can” or “could”?

When should I use can? When should I use could? What is right under what context?