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

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12
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7answers
933 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
58 views

Is there any phrases to replace “I was wondering” in a business email to show your politeness?

I often use "I was wondering if you could do..." in my business email. I want to know more phrases that have the similar meaning and express politeness like this one. Any suggestions?
2
votes
6answers
781 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
84 views

How to reply when someone says 'you deserve this'

I always wonder if it is okay to reply with just a 'Thanks' when someone says 'you deserve this' or 'you have done a great job'. Can someone please advise me about whether saying 'Thanks' and leaving ...
2
votes
1answer
65 views

Etiquette in diplomatic use of the English language (pronunciation of names)

Does anyone know what the etiquette and usages are when two heads of state, both non-native English speakers, talk to each other in English during an official meeting? E.g. when an Italian head of ...
0
votes
3answers
109 views

Mentally challenged as differently abled [closed]

Can we politely refer to somebody who is mentally challenged but leading an almost normal life upon professional support as differently abled?
0
votes
3answers
56 views

Does “Could I …?” always sound more polite than “Can I …?”?

For example, if I say Could I borrow your pen? Does it sound more polite than Can I borrow your pen? I am not a native English speaker, but I rarely hear someone says "Could I ...?". ...
0
votes
2answers
56 views

Is responding 'maybe' to an opinion or statement of fact rude?

When telling someone a statement of fact (i.e. something you know, without a doubt to be true), if they respond "maybe", which to me suggests the possibility that you are wrong, is this rude? ...
0
votes
2answers
55 views

How, as a parent, do I address a teacher (in the UK)?

In semi/non-official correspondence, how a parent should address a teacher of their children? Dear Miss Lastname, Dear Ms Lastname, Dear Firstname or something else? I know it's more about ...
1
vote
3answers
82 views

Need polite phrases expressing disagreement with the information/conclusions of another person, especially an educator [closed]

My classmate told me I should always say, "With all due respect," or "I politely disagree," when disagreeing someone - especially an educator - in order to avoid being perceived as rude. For example: ...
0
votes
2answers
448 views

How to correctly use the expression “safe travel(s)”?

A colleague of mine recently reached out to me. I asked if he would like to meet up sometime to which he notified me that he would be traveling the remainder of this week. In what context is it okay ...
2
votes
4answers
6k 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? ...
0
votes
2answers
55 views

“I was away for the weekend”

I work as a customer service representative in a software company. Sometimes I receive customer support questions during weekends. I check them on Monday. What is the correct way of saying that I ...
3
votes
3answers
166 views

Object pronoun: me and John, or John and me?

When using ourselves and another person as the subject of a sentence, we use their name first (like "John and I"); but when the same two people become the object of a sentence, which order should the ...
7
votes
9answers
4k views

Is saying 'who cares' rude or maybe even disrespectful?

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 ...
1
vote
3answers
223 views

Good Luck **in** all your endeavors' versus Good Luck **to** all your endeavors'

What is the difference between 'I am currently busy with family stuff so I really don't know when is a good time to catch up. Good Luck in all your endeavors' versus 'I am currently busy with family ...
9
votes
1answer
11k 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 ...
26
votes
17answers
45k views

Polite synonyms for “a——hole-ish” behavior

Are there any polite synonyms for asshole-ish behavior? A good synonym would probably have about the same impact and wouldn't send people looking for their dictionaries.
0
votes
2answers
45 views

A more polite expression than “minor languages”

I am translating a text to English for a university describing a program aimed at multicultural literacy: Students acquire minor languages in addition to English. The above translation is no ...
7
votes
5answers
770 views

How are you spelling, or how do you spell?

I have just given my surname to someone on the telephone, and they asked me as do most people these days How are you spelling the name? It always sounds as if they think I change my name every day and ...
38
votes
6answers
72k views

When do I use “can” or “could”?

When should I use can? When should I use could? What is right under what context?
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" ...
35
votes
13answers
160k views

More formal way of saying: “Sorry to bug you again about this, but …”

I was wondering if there was a more formal and polite way of saying: Sorry to bug you again about this, but we still have not received a response about X .... (if we still have not received any ...
1
vote
2answers
551 views

When someone leaves at 4pm - should I say “Have a good afternoon” or “evening”? [closed]

Could you please help me? I started work as a receptionist. I have to greet people that come and go. What should I say in this occasion: example: It is 4 pm and the client is leaving. Should I say ...
0
votes
1answer
83 views

Polite/professional auto-acknowledgment email for support inquries

I am trying to create an auto acknowledgment email for support requests we receive. I want it to look polite and professional, but I find it a bit difficult to word properly since I am not a native ...
5
votes
3answers
339 views

How to reply to “you ok” in British? [closed]

I recently shifted in UK and started to work, here people always say "you ok?" When I am in kitchen or I am working and they pass by. How should i respond to it. Is it rude to simply say I m good or ...
3
votes
7answers
3k 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
68 views

I am about to go now vs I have to go now - Which is more polite? [closed]

Is "I am about to go now" grammatically correct? If so, is it more polite than "I have to go now"?
2
votes
0answers
103 views

How to politely say to sellers in stores that you don't need help? [closed]

This happens quite often. You're at a store, and while looking for clothes sellers come over and ask if you need any help. And since my English is far away from normal English I just use what I know ...
2
votes
2answers
185 views

How to respond to “I'm sorry” appropriately

One thing that's been bugging me about English recently: Let's say I stole Joe's gym socks. Then a month later I went to Joe and said "I'm sorry I stole your socks." Joe's typical response would be ...
1
vote
2answers
89 views

Past tense equivalent of “will do”

I suffer from spending inordinate amounts of time on email. Once in a while I get an email that I can respond to succinctly by saying, "Thanks for the suggestion -- will do." Suppose I respond to ...
-1
votes
4answers
89 views

Word or phrase for people butting in and taking a side in an online conversation?

The phenomenon is not dissimilar to this: Word for "butting in on the Net", yet it wouldn't necessarily be considered trolling. Person A replies to a comment/post by Person B on the ...
0
votes
1answer
94 views

“Good for Me!” as a response to someone doing something nice for you

I have done many nice things for a relative (e.g. reorganize the outdoor deck space) and upon seeing whatever I try & do nice for her she replies "Good for Me!" I find this offensive—am I ...
7
votes
1answer
297 views

Beginning a question with “Say,”?

Since English is not my native language, I have a hard time understanding some expressions I hear in movies. From what I gather, it's possible to start a question with "say", such as "Say, do you know ...
0
votes
6answers
50k views

How to say “I'm sorry for such a bother” [closed]

I am in the middle of constructing my email to my colleague and I am out of words on how to say "I'm sorry for such a bother". Is there any other way of saying it politely?
4
votes
4answers
3k views

Pretty Please and Similar Phrases

I was wondering who uses 'pretty please?' Is it used mainly by girls? Under what circumstances? Thank you for replying.
-1
votes
2answers
135 views

When to use “Do you mind…?” and when “Would you mind…?”

I know that "Would you mind… ?" (the Present Conditional) is more polite than "Do you mind…?" (the Simple Present), and also, that they have to be completed this way: "Do you mind if I do sth?/Would ...
22
votes
11answers
6k views

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

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 ...
11
votes
2answers
65k 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 ...
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
90k 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. ...
6
votes
5answers
3k 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
65 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
88 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
188 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
14k 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? ...
9
votes
3answers
11k 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.
7
votes
2answers
4k 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 ...