I read someone's journal in lang-8.com, he is asking whether "of course" is a polite enough to use because her teacher (which is american) told her "of course" is not so polite because it sounds like the answer is a certainty and no one should not ask such that question.

for example :

Q: Do you like that movie ?

A: Of course, I like it.

come to think of it isn't entirely wrong for me. What about you?

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    Whether "Of course" is "polite" or "rudely dismissive" is entirely a matter of context (and the opinions of both speaker and intended audience). So the question as framed is Unclear (it lacks sufficient context) and/or Primarily Opinion-based. But that's just my own opinion, of course. Oct 25, 2014 at 17:34
  • @FumbleFingers Do you mean it's really depends on the interlocutors, condition, and the context? I added example to my question, how about that? Also do you use "of course" often to anyone such as parents, teachers, etc in general context? I mean not in angry situation.
    – mockie
    Oct 25, 2014 at 17:51
  • @FumbleFingers Of course you are right on the main point, and should post that as an answer. But to my mind the opinion bit is a red herring - replace "What about you?" with "Is this a valid rule?" and we're just fine - and the unclarity is of course precisely what OP is asking about. Oct 25, 2014 at 17:59
  • @StoneyB: I retracted my closevote following the "clarifying edit". But I can't really agree with your "the opinion bit is a red herring". Specifically, the last two words in my previous comment could be seen as "sarcastically dismissive" (they often are when people say "Of course, that's just my opinion" in contexts where their opinion might be seen as overridingly important). Or they might be submissively underplaying the significance of my comments. Or again, they might have been an effectively meaningless echo of the term under consideration (which is probably nearer the truth! :) Oct 25, 2014 at 18:29
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    This question needs information about intonation and solidarity - how these are said and what the relationship between the speakers is - as well as some co-text - more dialogue before and after the part in question. Out of context, you just can't say anything definitively. If they'd been talking about how Q always drags A to movies without asking A's opinion, this could be both rude and sarcastic.
    – jimsug
    Oct 26, 2014 at 0:33

1 Answer 1


The locution "of course" is neither polite nor impolite. The tone in which it is delivered makes all the difference.

Did you like the movie about swashbuckling pirates?
--Of course, I liked it, matey! You know how much I like to talk like a pirate, arrrh!

Would you like to come with us to the concert? I know your car is in the shop.
--Of course, it's so nice of you to offer.

Do you like those cookies I baked for you?
-- Of course I like them, it's *my* recipe after all! Why wouldn't I like them?
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    +1 Of course there's also concessive of course. And perhaps a depressive of course: "Of course it did; that's what always happens to me" Oct 25, 2014 at 21:59
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    There's probably also the repressive of course. Of course, you're not going to stage a popular rebellion, are you? And an obsessive *of course". "Of course, you're going to wash that apple before eating it, aren't you? Well, aren't you??!"
    – TimR
    Oct 25, 2014 at 22:05

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