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Free English Learning >> Offensive English >> How To be Polite in English
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How To be Polite in English

Does it seem like the things you say often cause offense? Are you having trouble getting people to respond to your requests? If so, maybe people are percieving that your English isn't polite. Learn how to avoid being rude with this great guide!


Can you pass me...? vs Give me...
People do not like being told what to do, so it's sometimes difficult to get what you want without causing frustration. Replace phrases that sound like commands, such as "Give me the newspaper", with a request like "Can you pass me the newspaper?"

Could you give me five minutes? vs Go away.
You're really busy at work, but your coworker needs your help... When you're busy and can't attend to anything else, just saying "Go away" is definitely not appropriate. Instead, keep everyone happy by using the phrase "Could you give me five minutes?"

Excuse me. vs Move.
Telling someone to "Move out of the way" is extremely rude and is likely going to get you a very negative reaction. The next time someone is in your way, saying "Excuse me" will get the result you want without causing offense!

I'm afraid I can't. vs No.
It can often be difficult to decline an invitation from a friend. Simply saying "No" would be considered impolite. The next time you have to refuse an invitation, avoid offense by saying, "I'm afraid I can't."

I would like... vs I want...
It's often considered rude to request something using the words, "I want". Instead of, "I want a cup of coffee", try telling a waiter, "I’d like a cup of coffee, please". You'll get your coffee and a smile, too!

Would you mind...? vs Stop it!
Someone doing something you don't like, and perhaps being rude? Would you like them to stop? To get the desired result, rather than shouting "Stop talking on your phone in the cinema!", ask them politely by saying, "Would you mind not using your phone in the cinema, please?"

Can you hold, please? vs Wait.
Choosing the correct level of politeness on the telephone can mean the difference between a constructive conversation and no conversation at all. If a caller asks to speak with someone else, don't say, "Wait". Instead, politely ask, "Can you hold, please?"

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