Being polite is important in all languages especially if you are askingsomeone to help you. We all know that if we want things to be done whether inour personal or professional lives, it pays to be polite. You won t get far bybeing rude or impolite. Different cultures have different ways of tacklingpoliteness.
In English Language cultures, the need to be polite and to use the correctexpressions is essential. Not only will people appreciate it, they will see youas a competent English Language speaker.
There are a few polite expressions that are frequently used in the EnglishLanguage and it is important for learners to know how to use them correctly andin the right context. I d like to share with you 5 of the most widely usedpolite expressions and show you how to use them correctly.
1. Excuse Me
You would use “excuse me” if you need to go past somebody, for example, ifthey re blocking your way.
Similarly, if you need to get someone s attention you would start thephrase with “excuse me”:
Excuse me, could you tell me the way to Charing Cross station?
Excuse me, do you have the time?
Excuse me, is this seat taken?
We love saying “sorry” especially in the UK!
Sorry or I m sorry is frequently used when we need to apologise forsomething small, for example, if you re late or you ve made a small mistake:
Sorry I m late. The traffic was terrible.
I m sorry, I didn t realise that you were in the queue.
“I beg your pardon” is a formal expression which you might hear someoneuse.
I beg your pardon, I didn t see you standing there.
You would use Pardon? or Sorry? if you haven t heard or understood whatsomeone has said and you want them to repeat it.
Pardon? I didn t quite hear that. Could you repeat the number please?
Sorry? Did you say 30 or 13?
Sorry is more used than pardon. A student once told me that their teacherhad told him pardon was an old-fashioned word and not used. Whilst it may notbe as common as sorry , pardon is still used and you wouldn t come across asa strange person!
One expression that is most definitely not polite is “What?”. If you use itwhen you haven t heard or understood something, you may get some disapprovinglooks from the other person.