Which one of the following choices sounds natural:

Never act rudely toward your parents.
Never act saucily toward your parents.

If neither works as a natural way to say that, I would be thankful if you paraphrase it for me and tell me what is the commonest way to say that.

  • The meanings are different, so what is the context around these statements? In any case, if you check the definitions of rudely and saucily the difference should be clear. They both "sound" OK, but may not have the meaning you intend. – user3169 Apr 17 '14 at 6:10
  • In accordance with my dictionary these two adverbs (rudely / saucily) mean exactly the same. This is why I decided to embed them in these two sentences to make sure about the proper usage of each one. Just I wonder if you tell me how these two adverbs differ? (What's their meaning?) – A-friend Apr 17 '14 at 6:33
  • Never suggests a strong assertion, about the same as Don't be. I'd suggest something like "Never be rude to your parents." – Damkerng T. Apr 17 '14 at 6:58
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    @A-friend, I think it would be very helpful for you to add a lot more context. In a sense, there is no single "natural" way to say anything. For example, I might stop someone on the street and say, "Excuse me, do you have the time?" but I would never stop someone on the street and say, "Never act rudely towards your parents." Without knowing the context, it's difficult/impossible to paraphrase a random sentence. Also, are you wanting answers to be focused on a particular form of English, such as AmE or BrE? I'm from the USA and have never heard anyone say "saucily" in any sentence. – CoolHandLouis Apr 17 '14 at 14:16
  • @CoolHandLouis Thank you very much. It was really a great help. Now I'm sure the adverb "saucily" is probably mostly used in BrE. Meanwhile I will try to add more contexts from now on. Moreover I am studying and focusing on AmE. ;) – A-friend Apr 18 '14 at 1:20

Never act rudely toward your parents.

is perfectly fine, but a bit rigid like something a schoolmarm would say to a child.

Because 'saucy' has a sexual undertone, it would be weird or creepy to use in reference to parents.

There is a similar word, sassy, which is fine. In some regions of the US, you will hear "Don't sass your mother/father."

  • Perfect. Is it an informal synonym for disrespect someone, which is a formal verb or as I see in dictionary "to sass someone" means only (to talk) rudely to someone who you should respect? – A-friend Apr 17 '14 at 7:12
  • "informal synonym for disrespect someone" - sure that works. Also, "sassy" us usually restricted to describing children. – Johns-305 Apr 17 '14 at 7:17
  • Excellent. In my dictionary this point about "sassy" had been mentioned; meanwhile I think "to sass someone" is also a reserved verb for children. Am I right? There is another verb "to diss someone". I think it is the best informal alternative for "to disrespect somebody". Am I right? – A-friend Apr 17 '14 at 7:24
  • Adults say sass. – user230 Apr 17 '14 at 7:53
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    Diss is a pop-culture slang for disrespect. It's inappropriate in most contexts. – CoolHandLouis Apr 17 '14 at 14:04

The first one seems better.

The word rudely can be used to express what you think but then saucily does not seem a preferred word here. Click on the words to see the meanings. No one would certainly act saucily toward their parents. :)

I was a little bit doubtful about the sentence structure but it's clear.

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