Are these two questions rude or offensive in English: "Would you like to do something useful?" (referred to somenthing that needs to be done urgently) and "I will remember it" (said to a person but referred to an unpleaseant fact happened)

  • 2
    I wouldn't say that the questions are inherently rude. The tone of the questioner and the context would be the determining factors. – user888379 Nov 14 '17 at 16:14
  • user888379 thank you for your answer. – Fausto Nov 14 '17 at 16:17
  • 1
    You might as well ask whether Do you think I'm stupid? is "inherently" rude. Context is everything. – FumbleFingers Nov 14 '17 at 16:17
  • I'd say that the first one is more likely to be considered rude: the rudeness comes from the implication that the listener usually does things which are not useful. As others have said, context is everything, but I think you could say that the first is less inherently neutral. – Max Williams Nov 14 '17 at 16:21
  • user 888379, the first question was asked in a polite way but the recipient, who is non native english as myself, took it wrong. That lead to an argument in which Management got involved. – Fausto Nov 14 '17 at 16:22

If something needs to be done urgently, it would be inappropriate to say, "Would you like to..." The phrase "Would you like to..." is a euphemistic way of asking someone to do something. You are not asking them if they want to or would like to do it. It has the ring of insincere or pretended courtesy. If you want someone to do something, then say, "Would you kindly do this?" Or "Please, can you do this quickly? It's urgent." The sentence "Would you like to do something useful" sounds as if you are saying, "Do something useful for a change," and that is offensive because it implies the person never does anything useful. If something needs to be done, idiomatically we would not call it doing something useful, which merely means it has usefulness, not that it is necessary. If something unpleasant happens and you tell the person whose fault you think it is, "I will remember this," or (more likely) "I won't forget this," it has the sound of a threat: I won't forget that you did this bad thing to me, and I will resent you for it or I will do something in revenge. If you are merely expressing in a neutral way (without blaming someone) that you found the incident unpleasant, you might say, "This will be hard to forget." Why would you tell a person that you won't forget their unpleasant act unless you mean to offend them?

  • You will receive a lot more attention if you split up your 'wall of text' into neat paragraphs. Each point made in the argument needs a separate paragraph. (Just sayin'.) – Nigel J Nov 14 '17 at 19:59
  • Thanks, I thought I had done so. ClearlyI did not study all the instructions carefully – KayCee Nov 15 '17 at 14:29

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.