Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Learn POLITE expressions in English – Don't be RUDE!

Does your coworker have "a bun in the oven"? Has your boss "let himself go"?
In this lesson, you will learn some expressions that people often use to say things indirectly
in order to sound more polite or less rude. What can you do to avoid using words like "toilet", "dead", or "fat"? Watch this video to learn some interesting alternatives to these words
and more. After watching, do the quiz to check if you have understood the material:


Hi again. Welcome back to I'm Adam. Today's lesson is a little bit interesting.
I'll give you a little bit of a background first of all. English speakers, and this is a very cultural
part of English... And remember, culture plays a lot... Has a big role when it comes to language.
A lot of speakers, in English, don't want to say certain words. For some reason, they think
this word is dirty or heavy, or they just don't like this word, so we find soft expressions.
We find other ways to say the same thing that everybody understands, everybody from
the culture understands. It may be a little bit difficult for non-native English speakers
to understand these expressions, so today we're going to look at a few.
There are many, many such expressions. We're just going to look at a few for today.

Firstly, these soft expressions are also called euphemisms. You don't need to know this word.
If you want to look up more expressions, type: "euphemisms" into your search box
on the internet, and you'll see many more.
I'm just going to give you a few to give you an example of what a euphemism is.
And when you watch Hollywood movies or TV shows, if you hear these expressions,
now hopefully, you will understand what they mean.

So we're going to start with: "passed away" which is very common. I think many of you
probably know this expression. Or: "did not make it". So if you go to the hospital, your friend was in    a car accident, and you bring him to the hospital or the ambulance brings him to the hospital,
and he's in there for a while, and then you see the doctor. And you go to the doctor:

"How's my friend?" And the doctor says: "Oh, I'm sorry. He didn't make it." What does that mean? Or: "I'm sorry. He passed away." What does that mean? It means he died.
Now, why people don't like to say the word "died", well, it's a very heavy word. Death,
people don't like to talk about death, so they find other ways to say the same thing. Okay?
Now, all of these are not bad things, but you know, we just want to soften the language.
We want to be a bit more polite sometimes.
If you want, if you're in the washroom (M’reen: Toilet/bathroom) and you want... Sorry, if you're in the restaurant and you want the washroom, but you don't want to say the word "washroom" or you don't want to say the word "toilet", you say... If you're a boy, you say, or a man, you say: "Where's the little boys' room?" If you're a woman: "Where's the ladies' room?"
Now, we understand all this to be toilet. But people think "toilet" is a dirty word.
They don't like to say the word "toilet", so they say: "Little boys' room", or: "Ladies' room". Okay?
Now, sometimes you'll see people in a wheelchair. Maybe they had an accident, maybe they were born this way, but they can't walk. They're in a wheelchair. Or you see people who have a...
Who were born with a disease, and they're not, you know, they're not fully functional
like everyone else. We used to say: "handicapped". But people find this word to be
a little bit offensive, and so it's not politically correct; it's not a nice thing to say. So now, we say: "They are mentally challenged." Or: "They are physically challenged." It used to be: "handicapped" or: "disabled". But people don't want to say "disabled" because they think or they know that these people are very able, they can do many things; they're just limited. Okay?
They are challenged by their condition.
So they are mentally challenged or they are physically challenged is a more polite way to say it.
Okay, so now, we're going to look at the next expressions. If you want to talk about a man
or a woman, and the not polite way to talk about them is to say: "He or she is fat", big.
So, people don't like the word "fat". So, for a more polite way or a softer way to say "fat"
for a woman is: "She is full-figured." Full-figured means she's complete. She's full in all the places, and that's what we say. A man, we're a little bit less nice to men. A man has "let himself go". Means he stopped taking care of himself, and became fat. Okay? Again, not a nice word,
but not necessarily a very nice expression either, but it's softer.
It's not as direct, but everybody understands what this means.

BBC Masterclass: Be polite - how to soften your English

Hi Sian here for BBC Learning English…
in this Masterclass we're going to look at something British people love doing! Being polite.
No, I'm not coming to your party this evening. Wow, this food is disgusting!

Give me some of your lunch. Now sometimes it’s ok to be direct – or even blunt
 with your friends…but it's important not to sound rude, particularly in the workplace.
We're going to look at 4 ways you can soften your language to make you more polite…

1: Requests, suggestions and questions.
OK, listen to these two requests. Which one sounds more polite and less direct, and why?
Number 1: ‘Pick me up on your way to the party this evening!’(M’reen: This is an order)
Or number 2: ‘I was hoping you could give me a lift to the party.’
Now, number 2 is much more polite. We soften requests, and suggestions and questions
by using past forms, continuous forms or both.
For example, ‘I was wondering if you could give me a lift later.’ 
We can also make requests softer by using a negative question with a question tag. So, ‘You couldn’t give me a lift later, could you?’ or ‘I don’t suppose you could pick me up tonight, could you?’

2: Giving opinions
OK, listen to these two opinions. Which do you think sounds less direct and more polite?
Number 1: You're too young to get married! (M’reen: This is a statement)
Or number 2: I reckon you're a little young to be getting married!
Yeah, the second one is much less direct. It’s softer. We use verbs like reckon, guess, feel to make your opinions less direct. You can also use vague expressions like ‘sort of’, ‘kind of’, ‘a little bit’.
 It also helps if you make it into a question: ‘Aren’t you kind of young to be getting married?’

3: Discussing problems
Ok now listen to these two problems. Which one sounds less direct?
The first one: ‘You've made a mistake in this report!’
Or the second one: ‘You seem to have made a mistake here.’
Yes, the second one was softer, less direct. We introduce problems with verbs like
seem and appear to soften them. So, ‘You appear to have saved over all my documents’. You can also use these to introduce your own problems. So, ‘I seem to have lost those reports you wanted’.

4: Saying no!
Now listen to these two ways of refusing an invitation. Which one sounds less direct?
Number 1? ‘No, I'm not coming to your party this evening.’
or number 2? ‘I’m not sure I'll be able to make it to your party this evening.’
Ok, again the second one was much softer, less direct. We find it really hard to say no!
So instead we use tentative language to soften it. So, ‘I’m not sure I’ll make it to your party.’
Or ‘It’s looking unlikely I’ll be able to come this evening.’ This basically means ‘I’m not coming!’

Now to find out more about avoiding being too direct, and to practise not being rude,
I was hoping you would check out our website See you soon, goodbye!

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