Questions tagged [politeness]

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

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1 answer
800 views

How can I express that I have completed task given somebody in polite manner?

Somebody asked me to rebase my github repository with his repository and I did it as per his/her request. How can I express it in polite manner? Some sentences running in my mind are: I did rebase ...
0 votes
1 answer
371 views

"to whom it may offend" vs. "to whom I may offend" [closed]

In my opening speech, is it right if I say I apologize to whom it may offend" or "I apologize to whom I may offend"
1 vote
1 answer
5k views

"Could you please deal with it" sounds rude

My friend with a C2 in English says that "Could you please deal with it" sounds rude and it is better to use "Could you please take a look at it" or "Could you please fix it" because that's more ...
1 vote
1 answer
85 views

Proper way to refer to someone that previously held an official title, but is no longer in said title

I’m trying to figure out the best way to refer to someone in a resume. I once received an award from former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld when he was still the Secretary of Defense. I use this ...
2 votes
2 answers
442 views

Elon Musk’s “thanks for being awesome”

In a recent open letter to “everybody”, famous visionary entrepreneur Elon Musk uses the closing statement “Thanks for being awesome” (emphasis mine): From: Elon Musk To: Everybody Subj. ...
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-3 votes
2 answers
167 views

Does one party involved in the action of "introducing someone to someone else" have a higher authority?

When you use the sentences such as "Kate introduced Joe to Ellen", "My former colleague introduced me to his boss", "My brother introduced them to me", is there one side of the introduction that has a ...
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0 votes
1 answer
441 views

How to properly refer to a person who had changed their name in the past tense?

A person changed her name from A to B. "My 6th grade English teacher was A" sounds right, but when I alter the sentence structure to "B was my 6th grade English teacher" it sounds right. These are ...
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1 vote
2 answers
6k views

Hi, Hello, Dear in answer to client’s Hi

We’re are a small atelier on Etsy and usually get questions from clients starting with Hi, Hi Roman (they sometimes see my name before composing a question) or Hey there. What would be the safest way ...
1 vote
1 answer
5k views

Using "Would you like" vs "Do you want" between friends

Does it sound normal or overly polite to use "Would you like" between friends, for example "Hey Bob, would you like to play chess with me?"
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60 votes
17 answers
28k views

"Can I" vs "May I" in restaurant setting when ordering

A while back, while we were getting fast food, my friend commented on my usage of "can" versus "may" when asking to take my order. I said: Can I have a ....... and my friend argued you're ...
0 votes
1 answer
2k views

Is it impolite to say hello to a doctor as "Hi, First Name"? [closed]

I'm based in Canada and I'm not a native English speaker. Is it impolite to call doctors and dentists by their first name instead of "Dr. Last Name" when answering a phone call?
1 vote
1 answer
62 views

First names or surnames?

Writing out an interview with two Americans, in US English. It's an interview with 'brothers and sisters in the field' of medicine, semi-scientific, slightly formal but in a friendly kind of way. So ...
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1 vote
0 answers
94 views

"Osteoarthritis patients" vs "people with osteoarthritis"

In the scientific literature, I've seen two different preferences to refer to "people who have disease X". For example: Osteoarthritis patients People with osteoarthritis What are the actual ...
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2 votes
2 answers
174 views

'Do' as a one-word short answer

Example: - It's stuffy in here. Shall I open the window? + Do. Example: - Do you mind if I look at your paper? + No, please do. What is the grammar behind this structure? When can it be used?
-2 votes
1 answer
145 views

Email: addressing the users in CC [closed]

I am in a corporate setting, replying to an email from company's client. The email contains multiple participants in CC. I've never spoken to the client nor to anyone in CC. Is it normal to start my ...
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4 votes
3 answers
494 views

Should she have said that I stole the drink?

I'm Japanese and I live in US now. I can speak English a little. Today I went to a cafe and I mistook taking someone's drink. (I already purchased, and it was same matcha). A staff realized that and ...
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0 votes
1 answer
434 views

Was I being impolite using this phrase "Add our John Doe in the copy :)" at the end of a business conversation? [closed]

Some context: English is not my native language and I had a chat with my colleague from a remote location. She asked my team lead to add two users in some system and since the team lead was off the ...
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1 vote
1 answer
229 views

Global socially acceptable way of acknowledging that I'm being a "pedantic w****r"?

I'm Australian and would not hesitate to call myself a "pedantic wanker" in public (because, well... I often am!). There is a very small chance that someone (most likely elderly or particularly ...
2 votes
4 answers
32k views

"Take care, sir!" - how formal/informal is "take care" in the meaning of "goodbye"?

According to oxforddictionaries (and also e.g. What does "Take care sweets" mean?), take care used at the end of a conversation has the meaning of goodbye: Said to someone on leaving them....
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0 votes
1 answer
10k views

"Yes sir" usage [closed]

I have heard "Yes, sir." used by a client or by the older participant in a conversation and it seems to me that this goes against the common usage. What is the connotation of "Yes, sir." in a ...
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0 votes
1 answer
2k views

Shoud I use a new line after Hi (someone's name) in e-mail? [closed]

In an e-mail, suppose we start with Hi John. Should I follow with Hi John, some content (i) or Hi John, some content (ii) Is there any etiquette behind choice (i) vs (ii)?
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-2 votes
1 answer
3k views

How informal is "I am fond of"? [closed]

As said in the title how informal is "I am fond of", can I start a cold-email to a design studio like I am fond of your works or designs?
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4 votes
2 answers
10k views

Polite alternative to "I don't give a damn about etc."?

I need a strong statement of rejection of a concept, thing or practice, that means X doesn't give a good goddamn about etc., or X doesn't give a flying f___ about etc. but with no vulgar words so ...
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3 votes
1 answer
847 views

How to say no politely and friendly to recommendations from waiters/staffs at a restaurant/cafe? [closed]

I am not a native English speaker and have a question about alternative expressions for "no thank you" especially in a Cafe/restaurant. When I order something over a counter or at a table, sometimes ...
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-3 votes
4 answers
1k views

Saying condolences if relative is hospitalised?

Is it offensive to say 'condolences' to people with a relative who is hospitalised? Apparently there's this kind of assumption 'condolences' is sometimes reserved only to express sympathy/empathy re ...
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0 votes
1 answer
363 views

polite tag in questions : for me?

in the question "What's your last name for me?" asked by a clerk for a registration, does the prepositional for me soften it? 00:12 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFjrerZ-EWo
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3 votes
1 answer
39k views

How to tell customer that you have a tight schedule without sounding rude? [closed]

I would like to explain a customer that during the next two months we will be very busy with a tight schedule, but I don't want to sound rude or put him in a rush, as I only have certain day available ...
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0 votes
2 answers
39k views

"Could you please answer this question" [closed]

In email correspondence with my team I use the wording and punctuation: Could you please handle this. As a polite form of: Please handle this. To be clear, it is an assignment, this is not a ...
1 vote
1 answer
2k views

How to politely restate instructions [closed]

What is a better way to say "and again" when you are repeating instructions to someone? When you just went over how to process something and the client doesn't seem to get it. You start to tell them ...
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1 vote
1 answer
400 views

How to politely tell my personal tutor that I'm going to give her the tutoring fee?

What I'm looking for is the most polite way to tell my personal tutor that I'm going to give her money without her feeling that she's selling something and I'm buying it. To put it another way, I'm ...
49 votes
5 answers
58k views

What is wrong with saying "pleased to meet you"?

I read an article1 in The Telegraph, where it mentions that the phrase "pleased to meet you" was used inappropriately. When I was little, my mother collected me from a school friend’s party....
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13 votes
4 answers
4k views

Is it rude to ask questions ending with 'or not'? [closed]

I'm not a native speaking English person. I asked questions like this "You want a drink of water, or not?" "You want to have a pizza, or not?' Then I was criticized by a native English speaker who ...
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3 votes
2 answers
5k views

Polite word or short phrase that means "this isn't a high enough priority for us to work on now"

I'm not looking for a technical term, but a more polite way of saying that the user's request is a lower priority and we may or may not get to it once higher priority issues are cleared out. The ...
7 votes
1 answer
811 views

Is there a way to determine how offensive a word is?

Outside of slang, I'm looking for a list of words that have been co-opted by society to mean something derogatory. In some senses, they are also "trigger words" and phrases. The word cult, for ...
1 vote
1 answer
2k views

Asking a small group of two or more people a personal question? [closed]

So, I visit casual group chats regularly, both in person and over internet messaging, and often a question is asked, "How is everyone doing?" Or, something along those lines. Now, this all seems ...
2 votes
3 answers
1k views

Is "you can't have it both ways" impolite? What's a polite alternative?

When I've said "you can't have it both ways" to my boss, and my former professor, they reacted negatively. This leads me to wonder if this phrase is considered impolite. Is it? If so, what's a polite ...
2 votes
1 answer
5k views

How does one address a former UK Prime Minister in a letter? [closed]

More specifically, does the title "The Right Honourable" apply to former PMs as well? Is "Your/Her/His Excellency" used at all? I'm finding several references for how to address current PMs, but I'm ...
6 votes
6 answers
4k views

Polite/technical way to say "user ineptitude"?

Here's the deal, I work in tech support, I've to fill reports on what is the most common problems and what caused it... Sometimes, I get requests from users who lack basic computer knowledge, which ...
4 votes
3 answers
35k views

What expressions should I use to reply "sorry to be a pain, but …" courteously

Last week, my colleague asked me to help on something, he said, “Sorry to be a pain, I just hoping to get it done shortly”. Actually, it didn’t bother me at all and it is a part of my job. Is there a ...
0 votes
1 answer
473 views

How should I address this professor in the US?

Realted to this question How should I address a professor in the US? I have a question how to adress the professor in the US in my concrete situation. In the last E-Mails I wrote "Dear professor ..." ...
2 votes
2 answers
122 views

Referring to a group or community of people of older age

I am not a native English speaker and need to ask for advice. In formal English, is it polite or OK to refer to a group of those who are older as "old people"? If not, what would you suggest instead?
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1 vote
1 answer
2k views

Is it correct to use Exclamation mark(!) in the introduction of a Professional Email? [closed]

I work with teams that are in different geographic zones. This is how I usually, start the email introduction. for example:- Hi Linda, Good Morning! or Greetings! Is it correct to use exclamation ...
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0 votes
1 answer
2k views

How important is the word "Please" when asking for something? [closed]

How important is this word 'please' when asking someone you don't know for something? If you have already said "excuse me" is it still necessary? Is it more important than 'Thank you'? I have heard ...
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7 votes
2 answers
343k views

"Could you **please** provide me the details......"? [closed]

When we write a business email and want some information from the mail recipient, then which is the most professional way to ask for information? Does using "please" in a sentence make it ...
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0 votes
0 answers
466 views

The deal between "Mary and me" vs. "Mary and I" [duplicate]

I think "Mary and me," even though it sounds odd to the ear, is correct, but my choice is between: "I've forgotten everything about the deal between Mary and me" and "I've forgotten everything about ...
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2 votes
1 answer
3k views

Talking over the phone for the first time [closed]

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 ...
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1 vote
2 answers
24k views

How polite is "all" as an email address? [closed]

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 ...
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0 votes
3 answers
755 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 is ...
1 vote
3 answers
8k views

"Pardon" vs "Please can you repeat that"? [closed]

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 you ...
2 votes
2 answers
1k 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 ...

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