95

"Who should I say is calling?"


79

In the UK, black person is the usual way to describe someone of African or Caribbean ethnic background and I wouldn't expect it to be taken as offensive. Referring to someone as a black (as a noun) would be offensive. Referring to someone as the black guy could conceivably be interpreted as a little disrespectful if you might have been expected to call them ...


68

He is saying that you don't owe him thanks, he owes you thanks. He clearly regards you as the sort of student who makes teaching rewarding. He may even imply that he has learned from you, from the sorts of questions you have asked which made him think about things which he took for granted.


56

I am going to write this answer from a sociolinguistic perspective, because there is a lot at stake that can't be explained with a yes/no answer. Nonetheless we shall still make an attempt at giving a simple answer to your title question. Yes "cop" is considered slang. No, it is not derogatory. For a term to be considered derogatory, it has to ...


54

As a native speaker of Northeastern US English, I would normally only add please after a question if I was asking for a specific favor or for an object from the person I am questioning. For example: Can you pass me that wrench, please? Could you let me know when he arrives, please? But it is not used when asking simple factual questions, matters of ...


50

As far as politeness goes, the following examples, along with what JeremyC has already suggested, would also be some of the safest ways to ask people for their names when talking with them over the phone: Could you please tell me who I'm speaking with? May I ask who's calling? Would you mind telling who's talking?


48

I think the closest expression with the same meaning and very similar connotations would be the French expression: C'est la vie. meaning That's life. You can use the French phrase as is because it is famous enough to be understood in any English speaking country. Certainly there are some more possibilities to say it in a polite way as to avoid ...


37

It's fine as a response to an apology. However you should be careful not to use it if the accident is your fault (even if they apologize first) since, "It's all right," implies that you forgive the other person. Other responses: Think nothing of it. Don't worry about it. It's ok. It's quite all right. Also, there's an Australian ...


36

Excuse me for a moment please This leaves both purpose and destination unstated, but by making it clear that the absence will be very temporary, does not cause anyone to think that it is a total departure. This will usually be understood sufficiently in context. There are of course, many euphemisms, some gender specific, some not, some considered more ...


34

I’m in Chicago and most of my team is in Paris, so this is a situation I have a lot of practice with! My primary recommendation is: reference the time of your audience. However, the key fact is: anything you say nicely is fine. Typical conversations I’ve had at 8 AM my time (CST), 3 PM their time (CET): Paris: Good morning! Chicago: Good morning! ...


34

"Will you be my friend?" is the kind of thing children might say to each other. Adults rarely feel comfortable so openly asking for friendship. Alternatively, most people will suggest activities you can do together, for example: Hey, let's go out and get something to eat sometime? I know this great restaurant. or Do you like noodles? I know this ...


33

English doesn't have the same kind of strictures regarding how to reference people as Japanese does. We don't, out of politeness, refer to people as "that side" or "next door" (the way my Japanese in-laws do), but we definitely don't refer to people as it unless we are being extremely rude or condescending. Even then, this is something that would be said ...


33

The phrase keep your mouth shut could be used literally, as you have used it, to mean that you should physically close your mouth to keep something from getting into it. I can think of no situation where using the phrase as you have used it could be interpreted as you being rude. The phrase can also be used to mean shut-up or don't speak. For example ...


30

You basically have two choices Thank you Thank you that's very kind and continue walking in, or saying No, please, after you Please, no, after you stopping before entering, extending your arm to hold the door open, and then holding the door while the person previously holding the door for you passes through. Protocol dictates that if a person ...


30

The right way to say this in the UK would be "I need to go to the toilet" or just "I need the toilet". Contrary to puppetsock, the word "WC" is hardly used these days, and younger people especially would not know what it meant. You might use it to excuse yourself from an audience with the Queen, but for everyone else you should say "toilet". "Bathroom" ...


29

Yes, this is a common, idiomatic response among English speakers where I live (California). It's casual, so it's mainly used for the kind of casual situation where people would say "Thanks" all by itself, like in the following: "Could I have some of your sunscreen?" "Sure, here you go." "Thanks." "Sure." ...


28

Both "dude" and "man" are INFORMAL. Whether or not they are disrespectful depends on whether you are expected to have a formal or informal relationship with the person you are addressing. If you have a familiar relationship already, calling them either term reinforces that familiarity. If I say to my friend "Check this out, man!" the subtext of the ...


26

To answer the last part of your question – where someone told you that you should avoid using the term blackboard – there is a difference between a blackboard and a whiteboard; the two terms refer to different products. Blackboard vs. whiteboard A blackboard, also called a chalkboard, is usually black or dark green and is meant to be written on using ...


26

First of all, this is always contracted "You're welcome" and is THE best response to thanks in any situation (NOT: you are, which would sound robotic) No problem is quite familiar and not as "social" as you're welcome. An even more familiar version of this is no sweat. Don't mention it is quite appropriate instead of you're welcome. If you went to ...


26

Answering from a US English perspective. I think what you said was misheard. I can't think of a situation where talking about keeping your own mouth shut would be rude. But telling someone else to keep their mouth shut would be considered rude.


24

There are many options to choose from. Here are a few that are polite. "You can stop off here, if you like; I can easily walk to my apartment from this corner." Another option is: "My home is inside this community, but to save you needing to drive through you are welcome to drop me off here." Your friend is not correct is saying that the "can" ...


23

These words are not rude of themselves. Of course they might be part of a rude statement. How do I post a question on Stack Exchange? First off you need to register for an account. Nothing rude about that. How do I post a question on Stack Exchange? First off, you're a moron and no one is interested in your questions. That would be rude. As StoneyB ...


23

Please is for requests Please could you pass me that pencil? Or Could you get the door for me, please? Although note that both of these would be valid, if potentially impolite, without the "please". Not for questions How are you? Or Did your children enjoy your trip on the steam train?


22

I (an Asian American) grew up in a rural part of Florida where I was asked that question pretty much anytime I had an encounter that lasted longer than 3 sentences. From my experience, just throwing in a "Is it cool if I ask you..." before you ask at least kind of tells me you don't think you're entitled to an answer, and is a solid way of being polite ...


21

It is no ruder or more courteous than 'First' or 'To begin with' or 'In the first place' or 'Let me start by saying'. They are all perhaps a little abrupt. It doesn't really matter which you use. What does matter is your tone of voice and other non-linguistic cues you provide.


21

Preferred terms African immigrant: If you know for a fact that the person was born in Africa and is now living in the UK, this is a safe term to use, as it frames the subject in terms of circumstances such as birthplace and residence, rather than race. Technically, it could also include non-black people who meet those criteria, though. Based on feedback, ...


21

A polite and reassuring way: "It could have been worse"


21

You could say this: I'm sorry I can't hear you. You're breaking up! From Macmillan Dictionary: break up 5 [intransitive] if the sound on a radio or mobile phone breaks up, you can no longer hear the person who is speaking on it. I can't hear you, you're breaking up.


20

If you're strictly looking for a different word or phrase maybe try: "Yes, I've read/heard about that.". It implies some knowledge, but isn't quite so final like "I know [everything about this and don't want to discuss it further!]" But like many things concerning language this is heavily dependent on the context, especially your tone of voice and your ...


20

It depends on the person you are speaking to and the way you say it. I don't think sure is a common way to respond to thanks, because it's potentially ambiguous. It could be interpreted as a shortened form of: Sure thing! , which is equivalent to Anytime! or You're welcome! It could also be interpreted as: Sure you are... , which is a sarcastic (read: ...


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