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

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40
votes
17answers
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 ...
2
votes
3answers
134 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
26 views

How should I (or Should I) reply to 'Enjoy' mail?

I sent out a vacation mail to my office group. And a colleague of mine replied to the mail with "Enjoy!". Now Should I reply to this mail?. If yes what would be a proper response to this?.
0
votes
1answer
32 views

How to politely decline to take someone's help? [on hold]

So I was looking to take someone's professional service and he offered me a quote. It was too high. So I declined it. Then he offered to give me some unofficial service as a courtesy. All of this ...
0
votes
6answers
509 views

“At my earliest convenience”

I'm quite used to using the phrase "at your earliest convenience" to express urgency but also polite sensitivity to others' schedules and deadlines. It means "Please do this as son as you can without ...
8
votes
7answers
7k 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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
45 views

What verb goes with “mood” in the context of a polite social inquiry?

How would I best ask someone to share their mood with me? It needs to be snappy and easily understood. For example, given these three choices of verb: share your mood express your mood convey your ...
0
votes
0answers
16 views

When is it polite/appropriate to include a salutation and/or sign-off in an email? [on hold]

I've always used a salutation (normally 'Hi' or 'Hey'; 'Dear' to older people) and sign-off ('Best,' or 'All the best,') in email. But I notice that many people I know include neither, and simply send ...
2
votes
3answers
4k views

Is the expression “having a good time” too personal?

Me and a colleague were jointly writing an email to an English speaking business partner when a discussion arose on how to formulate a sentence. The business partner is currently on vacation, so I ...
0
votes
1answer
45 views

Will that be fine?

Quite a few times now, a waiter or shop assistant has asked me: Will that be fine? I've noticed that I've only ever heard Indian English speakers use this turn of phrase. To my (British) ear, ...
12
votes
5answers
44k views

Popular alternatives to “thank you”

The context for my question might be a bit strange. I have stuttering and therefore I have some difficulties pronouncing some words starting with particular phonetics. And I've found that if a ...
2
votes
1answer
43 views

Is “could use” rude?

Is "could use" considered rude? For example: "We could use some extra information" "For this task we could use some help from..." Thank you
8
votes
6answers
2k views

How can I ask, “Why did you send me this link?” in a polite way?

The context is I told someone I'm looking for meetups in my area to network with certain people and this person sent me a link that does not seem relevant at all. How do I ask, "Why did you send me ...
6
votes
3answers
7k 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.
3
votes
3answers
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. ...
25
votes
9answers
5k views

What is a polite way of talking about a recently-deceased person?

In my language (Arabic), we say things that can be translated to: Mr X, God have mercy on him, was .. Mr X, God puts him in heaven, was. . . . Mr X, God forgive him, was. . . . How does one talk ...
3
votes
6answers
21k views

Is the expression “see you when I see you” impolite?

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 ...
0
votes
1answer
67 views

Is it rude to tell someone “do whatever you want”? does it mean you care less?

Would it be impolite to tell someone "do whatever you want" if you have been asked "what was the right thing to do"? does it mean you care less?
4
votes
9answers
13k views

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

Is it correct to use Mr/Mrs with a first name?
2
votes
3answers
337 views

What is a polite way to call something a conspiracy theory?

"Conspiracy" has acquired a negative connotation. [Edit: As pointed out in the comments, it has always had a negative connotation.] If you tell or even insinuate to someone that what they are saying ...
1
vote
1answer
114 views

saying thanks to someone answering your email ASAP who is important for you [closed]

Which of these sentences sounds more american? and which sounds more polite against who is important for you like a professor or boss? first: Thanks for your prompt response second: Thanks ...
0
votes
0answers
42 views

Way to ask interviewer (/speaking examiner) to repeat slowly its question [duplicate]

The accent of a speaking examiner is sometimes difficult to understand completely. Asking him to repeat his question is a delicate action that should be handled correctly, in my consideration. ...
5
votes
4answers
805 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 ...
26
votes
12answers
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 ...
0
votes
5answers
15k 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......? could be a right structure for asking question? regards
2
votes
1answer
107 views

What should we call our elder cousin's wife? [closed]

We don’t call our cousins cousin Somebody the way we do with uncles and aunts; we just refer to them by their given name directly. But sometimes we cannot use their name to address them, such as if ...
0
votes
4answers
97 views

Nice way to say “exclude”

I have a bunch of components I have included into a new project. I drew a pretty picture showing all of them, color coding the ones I selected, then showing the conglomeration. I went to write up the ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

Condolence message: “I was sorry” vs. “I am sorry”

What is the difference in nuance between the following statements? Which would be more appropriate for a letter of condolence? I was sorry to hear that your mother has passed away. I am sorry ...
13
votes
11answers
19k 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
84 views

Difference beween requests “can”, “could” and “may”? [duplicate]

We can use can, could, and may for requests and permissions, but is there any difference between the meanings of the following three versions? May I go? Can I go? Could I go?
0
votes
1answer
541 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
32k 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
4answers
16k 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 ...
3
votes
6answers
2k 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 ...
6
votes
6answers
11k views

“Good night” or “good evening”?

If it's 7:30pm, which of these phrases is correct, Good night or Good evening?
0
votes
6answers
4k 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?
0
votes
0answers
80 views

Is it polite to say 'thank you guys' if both genders were involved? [duplicate]

Related: Is "guy" gender-neutral? Discussion about more formal version: http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=1620575 Thank you (thank you guys)
0
votes
0answers
70 views

Do vs. did in “do you want to join us?” [duplicate]

What exactly is the difference in meaning between the questions Do you want to join us? and Did you want to join us? in the context of a group of people asking asking another person who ...
4
votes
3answers
154 views

Is addressing a guy as “guy” rude?

Non-native here, is addressing a guy as just "guy" considered rude? Like, while addressing a pet-store clerk: "Hey, guy, how many mice will $13 buy?" Also, how long has it been in use?
2
votes
1answer
131 views

What are the most common ways to say “die”, i.e. pass away? [closed]

It seems like my question was too broad to answer. I'm sorry for the inconvenience. I've edited my question a little. So, I would like to know what common terms I can use instead of the word "die." ...
2
votes
1answer
138 views

Is “thank's” an alternative correct spelling?

My colleague who is American spells "thank's" (with an apostrophe) and when I ask him why he said because it's "more formal" and "he uses American English". Is this true? Can you really spell ...
0
votes
1answer
81 views

Do both of these introductions mean the same thing and make sense?

I work with someone whom I have not yet introduced myself to; someone usually introduces a new person around the office but I wasn’t in on this person’s first day, so I missed that. Anyway, on ...
5
votes
5answers
8k 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
6k 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 ...
1
vote
5answers
1k 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
2answers
100 views

How to address a female interviewer

So just had a phone interview, the interviewer was a lady, now that i want to write a thank you letter, how should i address her, Ms or Mrs, because i am not supposed to know she's married or not
5
votes
4answers
2k views

What is the “superlative” way of expressing “thank you”

On rare occasions, you are in a situation where a simple Thank You seems like you're undermining the other person's help. You know, instances where you are too grateful to express your feelings of ...
14
votes
5answers
14k views

What’s wrong with saying “Have a nice day”?

I once read the book Class: A Guide Through the American Status System by Paul Fussell. There, he mentioned that saying “Have a nice day” was a faux pas, without elaborating why. I’m not American, ...
0
votes
3answers
86 views

What is the correct way to respond to sender with full name

I recently received an email I need to respond to, but I am unsure of the correct way to address the sender. Dear Mr Sayse, [ . . . email body . . . ] Regards Joe Bloggs Is it ...
11
votes
4answers
114k views

“Could you please” vs “Could you kindly”

I am a non-native speaker of English. When communicating with a professor, would it be better to use could you kindly send me the document or could you please send me the document? I know both are ...