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

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5
votes
4answers
588 views

Bless your heart

Is "bless your heart" something only used by old women in the South (all I've ever heard)? Or is it ever appropriate for a man to use it without seeming unmanly? Does the term always have ...
1
vote
4answers
49 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? ...
6
votes
2answers
13k views

“Thanks” or “thank you”?

Which one is correct — "Thank you Jim" or "Thanks Jim"? If I start an email with the sentence "Thank you Jim" in Outlook, it shows grammar error while if I begin with "Thanks Jim" it doesn't.
20
votes
11answers
3k views

Is “chubby” offensive?

I said to a person that she is "chubby" and, apparently, she took it very seriously. What I meant to say is that she's not skin and bones, she carried more pounds than needed but, precisely because of ...
2
votes
5answers
81 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
91 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
vote
1answer
31 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 ...
1
vote
5answers
140 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...
3
votes
4answers
90 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
votes
5answers
137 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......? can be a right structure for asking question? regards
10
votes
3answers
324 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
74 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 ...
9
votes
21answers
2k 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
160 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
votes
2answers
226 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 ...
2
votes
5answers
42k views

Is it correct to say “I kindly request you to…”?

Isn't kindness already implied when you say "I request you to..."? When I say "I humbly request you to...", the word humbly helps me to label the state of my behavior during the request. On the ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

Is there a word to describe female between 'girl' and 'woman'?

I've been trying to find a word that describes someone that's older than a 'girl' but not yet a 'woman'. It seems the connotation of girl is an immature female that's still growing up. Whereas a woman ...
23
votes
32answers
6k 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, ...
0
votes
2answers
91 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, ...
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 ...
2
votes
2answers
74 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 ...
3
votes
7answers
6k views

Can “Mr”, “Mrs”, etc. be used with a first name?

Is it correct to use Mr/Mrs with a first name?
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?
2
votes
1answer
209 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
votes
4answers
19k views

How to ask in a polite way

I am an international student in the U.S.A. I am writing an email and I am stuck on one sentence. I would like to say: "Do you know when I can get the flyers?" I would like to make the sentence more ...
1
vote
2answers
78 views

Polite request regarding availability

How do I ask if a person is available and to inform me, in a polite way?
2
votes
2answers
135 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
vote
1answer
203 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 ...
1
vote
4answers
83 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
vote
1answer
149 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...?
3
votes
3answers
505 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 Spanish, Portuguese or Italian, but certainly unusual in English. My question is: is it ...
2
votes
4answers
538 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
206 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
vote
1answer
120 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? ...
1
vote
2answers
66 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 ...
4
votes
6answers
69k 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 ...
17
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
67 views

Why did it become acceptable for children to call adults by first name? [closed]

I realise this will not be the case everywhere. This seems to have happened, here in Australia, from my generation to the current generation. i.e. sometime in the 90's, but the question is why did the ...
10
votes
10answers
14k views

Polite way to refuse to answer a question

It sometimes happens that I am asked a question which I am uncomfortable answering for a variety of reasons (it invades my privacy, the answer may hurt the person asking, it is painful for me to ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Beg to differ - Why is there a need to beg for differ

Wouldn't 'Wish to differ' be better than 'Beg to differ'? A friend of mine asked me why I like to 'beg to differ', instead of 'wish to differ' or 'want to differ'. Any insight on the history of 'Beg ...
1
vote
2answers
210 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 ...
5
votes
6answers
5k views

When is Mr/Mrs appropriate?

I often receive business emails starting with "Dear Daniel..." or "Hello Daniel..." although I haven't been into contact with the sender before. As an Austrian citizen (thus german speaking) this is ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

How to ask for a repeat in different way politely? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How do you decide which phrase to use when asking people to repeat what they said? If I can't understand what someone said very well, how to ask him to repeat his words, ...
1
vote
2answers
522 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
1answer
118 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
5k 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.
25
votes
12answers
25k 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
2answers
311 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 ...
6
votes
6answers
1k 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
4k 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 ...