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

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2
votes
1answer
50 views

Talking over the phone for the first time [on hold]

I will have an interview in English over the phone, and I am preparing for it. What I'm wondering is what will be the best way to greet the interviewer? "Hell, my name is ______. It is nice to talk to ...
1
vote
2answers
61 views

How polite is “all” as an email address? [on hold]

I work in a Dutch international company, with English being the official language. I often see my colleagues starting an email with plain "all" as in: All, Attached the agenda for the meeting ...
1
vote
3answers
35 views

When should I end online comments with a period?

I'm wondering what the rule is for when you post comments online. Here are some examples: Yeah, I totally agree Terrible Nice picture I wouldn't do that myself Would I end these with a period? Or ...
-1
votes
2answers
316 views

How to say thank you to a friend who agreed to take care of my pet? [closed]

I have been preparing to IELTS test and currently I need to write a thank you letter to my friend, because she agreed to take care of my pet. So I've come up with this: Thank you so much for ...
1
vote
3answers
87 views

“Pardon” vs “Please can you repeat that”?

In a client/business conference call , when you do not hear, what the speaker was saying or the message was unclear due to noise disturbance, what is the professional way to say it:- Pardon Could ...
8
votes
7answers
4k 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 ...
9
votes
9answers
9k views

Is “Can I have a cup of coffee?” polite? [closed]

Is "Can I have a cup of coffee?" polite? What if I ask a store employee, "Can I have something?"
2
votes
2answers
69 views

polite questions vs. direct questions: real life reactions [closed]

In English courses (especially business), we learn to use polite questions. So we know that you shouldn't say "excuse me... where's the nearest supermarket, please?" but rather "excuse me... do you ...
21
votes
11answers
22k views

Is “Yankee” derogatory?

I have heard of the term "Yankee" often referring to people in the Northern U.S. by Southerners. My question is: is this term considered derogatory or offensive and should it be avoided in workplace ...
0
votes
0answers
35 views

Best wishes/Good luck …? - [to encourage to proceed trying]

Suppose, someone is working on a long and tedious task (learning English seems not quite fitting, I think, it's too...continuous; I just stumbled upon this question in the context of learning physics ...
13
votes
8answers
11k 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
104 views

What's another way of saying “to hell with it”? [closed]

How do you express displeasure and disregard over something (e.g. To hell with that new policy _____'s office has come up with! I'm going to do whatever the hell I want) without sounding crude? I am ...
-1
votes
1answer
59 views

“Kindly” vs “Please” : Which is better in official emails? [closed]

Consider the below sentences:- 1. Kindly review the document and let me know if I need to change something. 2. Please review the document and let me know if I need to change something. 3. Could you ...
92
votes
10answers
77k views

Can “thanks in advance” be considered rude?

Some argue that because “thanks in advance” is written before any help has been offered, it adds an expectation of help and thus can be considered presumptuous. Is this reasonable? Would it be ...
1
vote
2answers
70 views

Should we use the word “Actually” before a sentence? [closed]

Someone asked to me about some particular information. I replied to the email like this:- Hi, "Actually I was assigned the following task by my Manager"........ Is it grammatically correct to start ...
21
votes
3answers
32k 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

Is “doesn't count for squat” an impolite phrase?

I recently used the phrase "doesn't count for squat" (meaning worthless) in a StackExchange comment, and then wondered if I was being impolite. I considered if "squat" was just a euphemism for ...
6
votes
4answers
2k 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?
8
votes
7answers
13k 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.
0
votes
1answer
195 views

Does it sound good to write “With best compliments from” in an invitation? [closed]

Again it's somewhat similar to my previous question, but I need to know it too. I am preparing contents for a wedding card, I have little doubt in writing With best compliments from as the last line ...
3
votes
8answers
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
3answers
128 views

Is it correct to write “Awaiting to welcome you” in invitation? [closed]

I am preparing contents for a wedding card, I have little doubt in writing Awaiting to welcome you as the last line of the invitation. Is it okay to write it? or will you please tell me a good line ...
0
votes
2answers
59 views

Order of placing Mr. and Mrs. in a wedding card [closed]

I am designing a wedding card, I need to know how to start it, these are some samples: Mrs. & Mr. Xyz invite you.... Mr. & Mrs. Xyz invite you.... Mrs. Abc & Mr. Xyz invite you.... Mr. ...
0
votes
2answers
87 views

Can I say “help myself to” when I'm being offered something? [closed]

Background I was travelling with my clients( from US/Canada) when one of them graciously offered me a portion of Lindt bar. Since I wasn't sure what a polite response would be to a native speaker, I ...
0
votes
1answer
71 views

What is the correct way to ask 'Do you know what I mean?' after you attempt to explain a thought?

I have recently started graduate school and a fellow student asks 'Do you know what I mean?' after nearly every statement they make. I find it excruciatingly annoying, but I soon realized that I do ...
2
votes
8answers
30k 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? ...
50
votes
20answers
7k 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 ...
13
votes
7answers
21k views

What is a less offensive synonym for “hypocrite”?

Is there a word that describe a person who doesn't "practice what they preach"? Basically, is there a synonym for "hypocrite" that carries less pejorative connotations? For example, let's say a ...
12
votes
5answers
837 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
5k 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
106 views

What is the proper response to “Excuse my language”?

What is the proper response to "Excuse my language"? I don't want to say "not a problem", because honestly, it is a problem. However, I can't think of any other appropriate response. I'm looking ...
0
votes
3answers
85 views

Is “not very” considered polite? [closed]

I've heard that if you want to describe something in a negative way but polity, use "not very" + "negative" adj. For example, describing a bad thing would be: This is not very good. Or talking ...
1
vote
1answer
78 views

Are these things rude? [duplicate]

Ok, I know I already asked this stuff but I thought that I should've organized it. So here it goes. By the way, quick shout out to people who answered my original question. I guess it was off-topic ...
4
votes
2answers
149 views

Is it rude to say commands or imperatives without saying please? [closed]

I've been wondering that for a long time. And if it is rude, then why does everyone say commands/imperatives without saying please? I personally phrase them into questions, or say "you have to","you ...
2
votes
0answers
107 views

Can “keep up the good work” be used for praising a co-worker? [closed]

Is "keep up the good work" a polite thing to say to your co-workers? I'm under impression that only someone from higher position has the privilege to say this. When replying the emails to a ...
1
vote
2answers
94 views

The Kids are All Right

As I was reading some of the responses on Should I use “the wife” or “my wife”?, I agreed with many of the posters stating that using the wife as opposed to my wife was slightly less personal and ...
0
votes
2answers
63 views

How to request to be addressed by one's title and surname [closed]

I am wondering if anyone might have a suggestion about how to request to be addressed by a personal title and one's surname. For example, I prefer to be addressed as, "Mr. Redgate," but I do not wish ...
7
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
23
votes
11answers
3k views

Is it okay to use the word “Negro” in a historical context? [closed]

In a few days, I have to do a class presentation project about the 1920s Harlem Renaissance. I want to say that the movement's original name was the "New Negro Movement," but I'm not sure if that's ...
2
votes
1answer
5k 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
20k 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 ...
23
votes
14answers
3k views

Less vulgar alternative to “bee up my butt”

In my corner of the world, the two exressions given in the accepted answer to this question have become conflated. Now, to "have a bee up one's butt" is to have a sudden and obsessive need to do ...
25
votes
8answers
245k views

How do you respond back to “Hi, How is it going?” [closed]

I have observed that people from America, greet by asking, "Hi, how is it going?". I usually say, "It is going good" and return a smile. Sometimes, I have observed people saying "Thank you" and ...
0
votes
2answers
181 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? ...
2
votes
1answer
88 views

To indirectly and politely ask about something “I wanted to” vs “I would like to” [closed]

When asking someone for some information indirectly which one is preferable? "I wanted to" e.g. "I wanted to ask your advice on ..." "I would like to" e.g. "I would like to ask about your advice ...
-1
votes
3answers
77 views

Politer way of saying “Your discussion is invalid”

Someone is criticizing my work and they are using arguments that are not correct. I have explained the reasons why their argument is not correct and I want to conclude by saying: because of these ...
14
votes
2answers
91k 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
4answers
102 views

Is “fatty” a proper word to use?

The most intuitive word to describe a person rich in fat seems to be fatty. However, I'm not sure whether it's commonly used in a derogatory sense in English. Do I need a more appropriate word ...
-1
votes
3answers
165 views

What is the proper way of addressing a professor? [closed]

I am a graduate student. Some part of my master thesis requires me to contact a professor from another university. In the first email I addressed him as "Dear Professor Smith". He started his reply ...
1
vote
2answers
82 views

What is the equivalent of this Arabic expression?

In Arabic, when someone tells you "You look good today," or "Thank you for the flowers, they are beautiful," the polite answer is: It is not the flowers. Your eyes are so beautiful everything appears ...