Our manager has recently hired a new assistant. She is a good woman, but she likes to complain to me when she can not afford to buy something new. She told me she wanted to buy some Chanel fashion accessories but the wages were way not enough. There are lots of things she wants to buy, too. Then one day, I thought I should stop her, or I would go crazy, so I said,

Stop it please, (her name)... There are many people poorer than you. They can not even afford healthy food but you just always want to spend all your money on luxuries.

I want to make the quote better by replacing poor with some other words, because it is not appropriate (it is offensive to the poor).

Can you help me please?

  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's a non-specific request for writing advice. Mar 15, 2016 at 16:51
  • The best advice I can offer is either get another job, or suck it up and get on with your work. It's almost never a good idea to criticize your boss's behaviour to his/her face (unless that behaviour is something specifically banned by law or company policy, such as sexism, racism, etc.). But if you must criticize (anyone's) behaviour, it's usually better to talk about how it makes you feel bad (appeal to their compassion), rather than explicitly saying that what they're doing is "wrong". Mar 15, 2016 at 17:17
  • "less well off" "in worse circumstances"
    – mkennedy
    Mar 15, 2016 at 19:02
  • 2
    @FumbleFingers This seems like a pretty specific word/phrase request with a lot of context, and not really writing help. Kitty wants to replace "poor" with something else in her sentence, and she's given us context so we can offer the right sorts of words. I'm sure if she were looking for workplace advice, she would ask on The Workplace, right Kitty? :) The title was misleading I think, so I tried to fix it up a little.
    – ColleenV
    Mar 15, 2016 at 19:23
  • 3
    @FumbleFingers It is a gray area, but there are sensitivities that don't always translate perfectly. I think Kitty has explained what she wants to express and I think it's on-topic to help her with some alternative word choices even though most AmE speakers (and likely BrE too) don't find the word "poor" offensive. When I worked with a Japanese client, they really objected to using the word "impossible" in English. They would use "very difficult" for that meaning, even though the people they were talking to didn't have an issue with impossible.
    – ColleenV
    Mar 15, 2016 at 20:52

2 Answers 2


While I agree with user3169 that "poorer" is not offensive, an obvious replacement would be worse off.

Many people are worse off than you.

which includes an implied final "are".

  • 4
    Also, "less fortunate" if you really want to emphasize that someone is whining when they shouldn't be.
    – ColleenV
    Mar 15, 2016 at 19:25

stop it please

is pretty direct. Unless you intend it to be that way (maybe not with a co-worker you have to get along with), I would use a more subtle intro:

I wish you wouldn't say that (those things). It bothers me because there are many people poorer than you. They can not even afford healthy food but you always want to spend all your money on luxuries.

I don't read this as "offending the poor". It is pretty much a statement of fact, or at least your opinion that you are entitled to.

And change "just always" to "always". "just always" makes it sound like you are complaining.


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