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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

20
votes
11answers
6k views

Why doesn't the English language have distinct words to use when talking to elders? [on hold]

In many of the languages that I've studied there are separate distinctions in the words to use when talking to elders and when talking to someone of your age or younger. For e.g. in Hindi, if I ...
4
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
56k 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
37 views

Tell customer politely that interruptions during meetings will not be allowed [on hold]

In my previous business meetings with a customer, I have mistakenly allowed the customer to go to some task during our meeting and I waited for him. The customer now considers breaking our meeting to ...
3
votes
3answers
2k 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?
23
votes
9answers
78k 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. ...
5
votes
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 ...
9
votes
5answers
4k 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
51 views

How much is idiom “chew the fat” acceptable and neutral?

Does the idiom have strictly negative meaning or is it neutral? Can it be used to talk not only about close people so that not to insult anybody?
1
vote
2answers
36 views

Résumé: Additional details can be provided (if required / on request)

I'm a freshman applying for internships. I previously had a detailed résumé with appropriate information regarding my projects and areas of expertise. However, I want to tailor it down and keep it as ...
2
votes
1answer
73 views

Do “Care to do something” and “Would you care to do something” sound equally polite?

Today on one of other stackexchange sites I've been reached with following comment: "Care to add some references for your claims?". This sounds to me not only formal but a bit rude, so I've ...
2
votes
6answers
9k 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? ...
8
votes
3answers
10k views

Can “Sure” be used to respond to “Thanks”?

I often hear "Sure" in response when I say "Thank you" or "Thanks" to someone. I don't know — is this correct usage? If it is considered good, I'll use it someday.
6
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 ...
0
votes
0answers
27 views

Is there a rule regarding the placement of “please” in a sentence? [duplicate]

Both written or spoken? For example: Please have a seat. Have a seat please. And how would the use of commas change the meaning or tone of the request? Are there other options that I've ...
5
votes
2answers
8k views

Is thanks a countable noun? Many thanks or much thanks?

A colleague of mine recently wrote in an email "much thanks for your efforts." Does this usage make sense? How does "much thanks" differ from "many thanks"? This is similar to "Is “Many thanks” a ...
3
votes
2answers
467 views

What is happening to “Thank you”?

What is happening to the phrase "Thank you"? Related questions: Is thank you considered formal nowadays? Is thanks used more often? Is there a decline in the usage of the phrase thank you ...
1
vote
1answer
95 views

Polite Answers to “What else can I do for you? ” [closed]

Suppose that I call a company's call center for help. And near the end of the conversation, the staff asks a question like "what else can I do for you ?". How can I give a polite answer to this sort ...
-3
votes
2answers
54 views

The right word to show honour for president or such dignitaries while addressing them

what is the right word to show honour while addressing president or such dignitaries. Is "respected president" sufficient?
9
votes
7answers
8k views

Is “IMHO” a rude thing to say (or type)?

The initialism1 IMHO stands for "in my humble opinion". It's commonly used in text-based communication (chat clients, forums, popular Q&A platforms). Here's an example: Person A: What do you ...
2
votes
5answers
432 views

Is there a politically correct term for illiterate people?

The question says it all. What is the standard, compassionate/politically-correct term for those who lack a literacy education? I'm looking for something a little higher in register and more accurate ...
0
votes
2answers
384 views

How to respond to someone who says “Pleasure to meet you”, but you don't feel the exact same thing? [closed]

It is not that I hated meeting him, but it wasn't a "pleasure" either. Not because I have some problems with him but because I don't get usually enchanted when meeting someone for the first time. I ...
44
votes
19answers
6k views

Alternative expression for “xyz Nazi”

I'm not a native English speaker, but I do understand and personally appreciate the use of the term "xyz Nazi" to say that someone is a bit dogmatic about their point of view, without necessarily ...
0
votes
1answer
48 views

Is “would you be keen to consider___?” too cheesy to use?

On a formal / professional email, is the following question acceptable, or is it too much politeness it looks unprofessional? The intention is to ask someone, who is not a subordinate, to do ...
2
votes
4answers
11k views

Is it right to say “Thank you” in the response of “Thank you”?

When two persons help each other and one said "thank you" then is it right to say "Thank you" in the response.
8
votes
8answers
1k 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" ...
0
votes
1answer
76 views

Does “No screenshots any more from your phone” sound rude? [closed]

Could native speakers tell the first expression of meaning "No screenshots any more from your phone" Does it sound rude?
7
votes
7answers
8k 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 ...
5
votes
5answers
25k 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
151 views

Which dialects of English consider “would” to be a polite form of “will”?

My recent trip to India exposed me to many sentences using "would" as a polite substitute for "will", as in Please make sure to leave on time. The last bus would depart at 8PM. Thanks for ...
12
votes
12answers
14k 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
votes
3answers
108 views

Non-vulgar way to express that you “f-word love” something

So I wanted to say that I really love some web service, (I could pretty much say this about stack exchange too!) and I wanted to keep the power of my words, but I have a bad habit of using f-word in ...
1
vote
3answers
2k 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
votes
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 ...
29
votes
13answers
9k views

How do I politely say I have used my mouth while drinking water from a bottle?

Is there a one word substitute for the scenario below, and what is the politest way of saying it to another person or colleague? I drink water from my bottle by touching my mouth When someone ...
18
votes
7answers
6k views

Asking female employees to come to my room [closed]

I have a few female employees working at my office, and being a manager, I need to text them via Skype or Messenger to come to my room. How can I ask them politely to come? Please come to my room ...
0
votes
1answer
127 views

Best use of wondering if “there was something” or “something was”

I would like to ask whether an object is included in a package or not, which of the following expressions should I use: I was wondering if there was any chassis support in the package? I was ...
0
votes
4answers
519 views

Is it rude to say “none of your business”?

I'm often asked in shops variations of this question: Where are you from? (Which country, zipcode?) Frankly, it's none of their business, but I feel it's somehow rude to say that so directly. ...
0
votes
1answer
117 views

Ask politely if there is any fee for a training [closed]

I am attending a training, but they did not mention if it is free or not. How to ask politely if there is any fee for this training?
2
votes
1answer
282 views

How to start and end an email politely? [closed]

I'm trying to write an email to professor because I found a mistake on his book. Should I start the email with just "Dear professor, There seems to be some problems in ..." and end the email as "best ...
-1
votes
1answer
106 views

Is mentioning full name on email replies considered offensive? [closed]

For example: If someone replies me "Sure Deepak Mishra :)" or "Sure Deepak :)". Should "Sure Deepak Mishra :)" look offensive to me or is it not a good email etiquette? Adding to this question: I ...
3
votes
7answers
30k views

Is the expression “see you when I see you” impolite? [closed]

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 ...
8
votes
4answers
44k 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 ...
2
votes
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?
4
votes
3answers
468 views

What does “talk to the hand” mean?

I saw the phrase "talk to the hand" on many funny stickers which seems like expressing the idea that you want to stop the topic or conversation which you feel uncomfortable or not interested in. But ...
3
votes
4answers
8k views

“And to you” or “you too”?

I really like to chat with English folks, so I have wished them Merry Christmas. To my surprise I have noticed the following pattern — the British answered "and to you", but Americans "you too". The ...
8
votes
3answers
26k 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.
3
votes
4answers
11k views

“May I know your good name?” [closed]

"May I know your good name” is a typically Indian way of honouring another person by asking their name using an adjective like sweet, good, beautiful, et cetera. Of course there won’t ever be any bad ...
0
votes
1answer
94 views

Removing offensiveness from swear word [closed]

Is there a consensus in terms of the ranking of offensiveness given by the word "damn" and its derivatives? Damn Darn Dang Ding (as in ding-busted) I assume that the less a word sounds like the ...
6
votes
7answers
3k 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 ...