(1)   If you want anything to eat, there are plenty of eggs.

(2)   If you are at all hungry, there are plenty of eggs.

(3)   If you're the least bit hungry, there are plenty of eggs.

Of the three types of sentences which one sounds most sincere and generous?

  • I have edited it to reflect what I take to be your meaning, which I hope I have correctly interpreted. Aug 29 '12 at 9:48
  • 2
    I think intonation would convey the sincerity and generosity more than the content. You could say any of them in a nice way, or in an unpleasant way. This is why you hear comments like "It's not what he said, but the way he said it". Aug 29 '12 at 10:00

I think intonation is all that really matters here. Any other difference is negligible.

However, if you want to improve the sentence, perhaps you could reword the "there are plenty of eggs" part, as it's not completely obvious what it implies. For example, does it mean: "you can make yourself an egg" or does it mean: "let me make you an egg". The latter may be somewhat more generous.

  • I agree that these are all just about the same and the intonation is the key. Context could make a difference too.
    – Kevin
    Aug 29 '12 at 14:11

It does depend on how you say it, but in a generic context (spoken in a polite manner)

(1) If you want anything to eat, there are plenty of eggs.

sounds like the best option as the other two sound formal which could end up sounding insincere.


The third for is the most generous / 'sincere'

If you're the least bit hungry, there are plenty of eggs

I argue this is because it is the most deferrential. The deference comes from the additional words used. Those additional words denote attention or consideration on the part of the speaker.

Even if you speak that sentence with utter snide, it is still the more-gentle of the three versions of the sentence.

However, some people may consider the added word (i.e. consideration) to be excessive, which may make for another form of awkwardness. At minimum the third sentence is probably the 'most formal'. In a non-formal content a formal statement can be interpreted as a subtle form of insincerity.


Building on faz15's point, I'd try to say it as casually as is reasonable, e.g.:

If you're hungry, there are plenty of eggs.

But, since the non-verbals are somewhere from 50-93% of communication, I'd say be in the mindset of being generous and honest, because that's what you're trying to convey.

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