In Iran, it's a kind of polite thing that when people want to ask something from somebody, they start the sentence with excusing. For example :

Excuse me, would you please give me 1 kilo apple?

I was watching a youtube video and a canadian said that americans don't excuse too much but canadians do. Is this right? I mean, is it normal to say "excuse me" a lot ?

1 Answer 1


You will never be treated oddly if you do this... unless you're already talking to the person.

Saying "excuse me" before asking for something is perfectly fine and natural, particularly in your example... though it would be more common if you were interrupting them in some way.

So, if the shopkeeper has their back to you or is chatting with another employee, saying "excuse me" to get their attention is very natural, even in American English.

If, however, you already have spoken with the shopkeeper you wouldn't continue to say this unless you lost their attention in the interim.

As to your question about Americans vs Canadians... there is a joke about Canadians being overly polite and Americans being very direct, if not rude by comparison. While these stereotypes certainly have some merit, that doesn't mean that everyone fits them. Being polite is rarely out of place, regardless of where you are.

It's also worth noting that in the US, you'll be asking for quantities in pounds not kilos. Some shops may be able to do both but they will be more comfortable with pounds and the shops will be priced by the pound. And your phrase is missing a word:

Excuse me, would you please give me one kilo of apples?

And I'd probably not use "give":

Excuse me, I'd like to buy two pounds of apples.
Excuse me, I'd like two pounds of apples.
Excuse me, may I please have two pounds of apples?

You can always ask for them by quantity, too.

  • @Catija You might have included the Canadian version for added context: Excuse me, I know how busy you must be, but would you please let me have a pound of apples, if it isn't too much trouble? (scnr) Commented Jul 27, 2016 at 0:06
  • @ArmanMalekzade and that's the Canadian politeness joke in action^
    – Catija
    Commented Jul 27, 2016 at 0:07

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