Of course, you all know how to BE
polite (shake someone's hand when you meet them, listen carefully to others, remember your Ps and Qs – that's your 'Pleases' and 'Thank Yous'…) but SPEAKING
politely is a whole other ball game. So, here are 5 top tips
to start you off:
- Address people respectfully
— If you are wining and dining in a fancy restaurant, the waiter will say to you:
'May I take your coat, sir
'Are you ready to order now, madam
— Likewise, in a formal situation, where you don't know someone's first name, you use titles such as 'Mrs + surname, Mr + surname, Sir, Madam, Doctor (Dr.), and Professor (Prof.)'
— When you speak to a stranger, you can also use these titles:
'Excuse me, sir
, you dropped your gloves!'
— And when you speak to an audience, you can say:
'Hello there, ladies
2. Soften your speech (make it less direct)
— Try adding small words like this:
???? Could you just keep the noise down a little bit
, please? // ☹ Be quiet.
???? It's kind of
hot in here. Shall we open the window? // ☹ It's hot. I'll open the window.
— Use words like 'reckon', 'guess' and 'feel' to express your opinions or introduce ideas:
???? 'I reckon
we should start to make a move. It's getting rather late.' // ☹ We need to leave.
— Use the words 'seem' or 'appear' to introduce a problem:
???? 'Oh no, it seems
I've misplaced the office keys' // ☹ 'I've lost the office keys'.
???? 'You appear
to have deleted all of the photos from my phone' // ☹ 'You have deleted all of the photos from my phone, you idiot!'
3. Use modal verbs to make a request
— Check out these expressions: Could you possibly
call me back in a few minutes?Could you please
listen carefully?Could you
help me please
?Would you mind
holding the door for me?Would you kindly
put me through to your boss?Would you be so kind as to
hold my phone for a moment?Would you be able to
help me with my homework?
— You can also ask someone to do something by using a negative question
with a question tag
give me a lift to the station, could
suppose you would be able to take my lesson, would