Today I used the expression like this:

My first name may be difficult to pronounce for foreigners like yourself.

I used yourself to politely mention the reader, reminding a movie clip where an old man gently used the expression 'like yourself', but I am not sure whether this is commonly accepted as polite by native speakers. Maybe the sentence itself could be impolite..? Could anyone advise on this?

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    Please consider waiting 24 to 48 hours before accepting an answer as per the guidance highlighted in this meta post in order to allow other users to answer your question (they're less likely to do so if the question already has an accepted answer) and to maybe get better answers.
    – user3395
    Jul 5, 2017 at 8:18
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    It is important to understand that in English, the term "Foreigner", depending on how it is expressed, can be (and frequently is) perceived as a term of opprobrium. (This is true not only of English; in Japanese, for instance, the term 外人 is almost always intended as an insult.) In this case, "Foreigners like you" and "Foreigners like yourself" are equally to be avoided in polite discourse; neither is likely to be perceived as polite in English. Jul 5, 2017 at 8:22
  • @P.E.Dant OK then 'foreign people' will be better than 'foreigners'? Could you recommend some alternatives that I can use instead? Jul 5, 2017 at 9:01
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    I'm Korean and the listener is American or, at least, a native English speaker who is currently visiting Korea. So I think there is no problem with the context, but I will refer to your recommendation 'non-native speakers' cause it seems more natural even for me XD. Thanks! Jul 5, 2017 at 9:27
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    @GwangmuLee +1 In any language, "non-native [language] speaker" is more welcoming than "foreigner", don't you think? Jul 5, 2017 at 9:42

2 Answers 2


My personal experience tells me that "like you are" is even more polite and more emphatic.

You should have in mind that using either "like you" or "like yourself" may unintentionally offend people. With regards to P.E. Dant's comments I think he has a point in that people may not see themselves as foreigners, especially within their homeland.

To avoid offending somebody I recommend you change "foreigners" to either "people" or "non-native speakers" and possibly use a positive qualifier:

  • My first name may be difficult to pronounce for good (or whatever other qualifier) people like you/yourself/you are.

You could add "even" too smooth the phrase even more:

  • My first name may be difficult to pronounce even for such good (or whatever other qualifier) people like you/yourself/you are.

Or maybe something like this:

  • My first name may be difficult to pronounce (even) for people who are as good/clever/educated/well-educated/intelligent/literate/well read/intellectual/sophisticated as you/yourself/you are.
  • I wouldn't recommend using "such as yourself" no matter what! Jul 5, 2017 at 15:37

Yeah, like yourself sounds more formal than like you. But both are fine to use in that context.

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    Could you explain why you think it sounds more formal. To me, because it is grammatically wrong, it grates on the ear.
    – Chenmunka
    Jul 5, 2017 at 8:52

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