35

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 ...


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" ...


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 ...


18

First think: "Why do I need to know?" Just being curious is not a need to know. It is impolite to ask for personal information just to satisfy your curiosity. If you don't need to know, then don't ask. If you decide that for some reason you do actually need this information, then explain your reason and ask directly. If you ask for some personal ...


18

(Excuse me,) I need to use the toilet/bathroom/restroom. Exactly how that room is named depends on the continent. The commenters are right, toilet is most often used in British English, while Americans prefer restroom or bathroom. The phrase is not limited to urination: (Euphemism) to urinate or defecate. May I be excused to use the bathroom? I have to ...


14

I am very surprised that none of the answers or comments so far have mentioned the word "loo", as in "I need the loo"or "Where is the loo?". It is at least as polite as toilet. In addition, there is a certain snobbery about that word, with many users of BrE considering (quite incorrectly, on linguistic grounds) that "toilet" is a mealy-mouthed, lower-class ...


13

There is no polite way to bring the image into others' minds of your spraying out waste water from your privy parts. The polite way to excuse yourself is to say some variation on I need to go. or I'll be back in a minute. If it's a need at that exact moment, then it's pretty obvious in almost all situations what that need is and you don't need to spell ...


11

At an interview, you should not be too effusive with your greeting, or too verbose (unless invited by a leading question intended to draw you out). The interview panel makes the moves, so I suggest you be polite and uncontroversial. Good morning / afternoon is sufficient, with a brief look around the interviewers to make it clear you are greeting them ...


9

I need to... ...see a man about a dog. ...shake the dew off the lily. ...condense some fog. ...tinkle. ...pee. These are all colloquial and somewhat humorous ways people often convey this information.


8

In the US, it is acceptable to say "I need to freshen up" if it is not urgent. This gives the listener the ambiguity that the urinator is just washing their hands and applying make-up, on the listener's behalf.


8

To the very good answers you've already received, I'll add that you're right to say that trying to elicit information about an Asian American's background by asking "where are you from?" isn't a good idea. However, the problem isn't just that the person is likely to respond by (correctly) telling you that s/he is from the States (or a particular US state), ...


6

In the UK we just say... "Just popping to the loo" or "Need the loo, be right back". Or "Excuse me, I just need to go to the toilet". But very rarely "Gonna point Percy at the porcelain". Some people say "Need a wee" or "Need a pee", "Just going for a pee/wee", or "Jimmy riddle" = Piddle. Don't use "Going for a piss/slash/wizz". It seems vulgar.


5

Personally I say, “Please excuse me, I need to visit the boy’s room”. Or for women: “Please excuse me, I need to visit the ladies.” Please note: The original question was about the need to urinate. I don't think you need to say why you want to go to the boy's room or the ladies.


5

When politely greeting one person, we can say "good morning/afternoon/evening", and possibly add "sir" for a man, or "madam" for a woman, although these are now very old-fashioned in Western countries, except for e.g. royalty, judges in court, etc. "Sir" and "madam" do not have plurals. To greet a group, mixed in gender, we can say "Good morning/afternoon/...


4

'I need to urinate' sounds odd. You cannot say 'I need to urinate'in a formal situation or in public places. We don't usually say 'I need to urinate'. If we need to use washroom, we ask 'where's the washroom?' or 'could you, please tell me where's the washroom.'And if you are eating together in a table and you need to use the washroom you can say, 'excuse ...


4

Don't ask; tell You think that you know this person well enough that you should know each other's ancestries. That's your opinion. The other person may have a different opinion. Since you are the one who believes that this information should be shared, share yours. Your information is entirely under your control. You can choose to share or not share. ...


4

Different cultures will have different ideas about this. When I was growing up, only an actual relative ever got called "Auntie", but in the situation you describe, my wife would certainly have called the woman "Auntie".


3

You have several options on how to proceed: Decide for yourself, according to the social rules in your area / country. Ask your friend how it is best to call those women. Ask the women themselves how they prefer to be called. Sometimes people have special preferences about how they want to be called, other times they are happy when they are called in an ...


3

We generally don’t use the article before titles, unless they are treated as common nouns, for instance when they are preceded by an adjective. Therefore, we say “Professor John Smith” (note the uppercase for “Professor”), but “the famous professor John Smith.” If there is an adjective, it causes the effect of turning the title (usually a proper name) into a ...


3

It just means any sort of unpleasant or unwanted substance. Thus, it could also cover excreta of all sorts, as well as soap scum, dirt, greasy residues and so on. It also applies metaphorically to other things, as many words describing physical substances do.


3

May I be excused is a common and polite way to go out for a toilet.


3

You're exactly correct. The reason that I want a chocolate now. might be rude, is because it could be meant to imply that the speaker expects that the listener provide him/her with chocolate immediately; in other words they are demanding chocolate. Lets put aside notions of if or not this sort of demand is always "rude", of course there's a ...


2

I need to spend a penny A fun one, but not much used since decimal currency came in, "I need to spend a penny" used to be well understood. There used to be very few ways to spend such a small sum of money; one of them was the coin-operated doors on public toilets. So, even when the facilities were free, or at home, the phrase had only one meaning without ...


2

You could say, "I need a few moments to catch up with my long-lost friend; please, everyone, go on ahead to the restaurant, and I will meet up with you there shortly." There are probably a million ways to express this, and it's much easier of course, to think it through with time and space, and much harder to express everything in a polite and effective way ...


2

To me, "Let me come up with..." implies something you are going to do in future (because it needs time to do). So I would have used "Let me present a more interesting..." Apart from that minor detail, there is nothing wrong with the sentence. But it does say that your idea is better than their idea - which could annoy them I suppose. You could tone it down a ...


2

The correct one is “Would you mind taking a minute to answer my messages please?” To correct the first one, it could rather be written as, “Would you please mind taking a minute to answer my messages?” (The position of please is not the thing causing the problem here) Also, Would you mind is already being used as a "polite" phrase, so "please" ...


2

As a European, the cultural context is slightly different, but not a lot. It's still likely to come over as diminutive to ask someone "where are you from", as if "I'm from the UK" isn't somehow valid enough. A way to ask might be, "where did your family come from". But I wouldn't ask that, if I wasn't sure it would be okay. So I might disclose some of mine, ...


2

You would not call a friend's mother "Mother Mai". You would just use her name. Suppose your friend's name is Mary Collins, and her mother is Sue Collins. As a young person, speaking to an adult you might begin by calling the mother "Mrs Collins". It would then be likely for the mother to say something like "Please call me 'Sue'." And then you would call ...


2

"If it's no trouble" is a precondition to what comes next, therefore it only really works with a request, not an order. It doesn't make logical sense to tell someone they must do something - but only if it is no trouble to them. Of your examples, the only one I would question is "I want you to..." ("ask" and "wish" don't sound quite right in this context). ...


2

In addition to everyone's answer, something else that helps is just in your everyday life working to be a more cultured person. Then, most times you don't have to ask. I say this with sincerity and from personal experience as a person of color who endeavors to do the same. The more exposure one has to other cultures, the easier it is to distinguish between ...


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