Every Language has its set of rules, where using or refraining to use certain words, mean the difference between rudeness and politeness. Politeness makes people more responsive towards you, while people usually tend to ignore rude people. Little details, in how we say things, make a world of difference. Whether English is your first language, or you are relatively new to it, incorporating the following expressions to your daily usage is bound to make people more receptive to what you have to say:
1. ‘May I?’ vs. ‘Can I?’
Both the phrases are used to ask permission. Either of them is acceptable but ‘may’, is certainly more polite and better to use, especially in formal situations. For example:
“May I, have a look at your Thesis?” sounds much more refined than,
“Can I, have a look at your Thesis?”
2. ‘Pardon/Sorry?’ vs. ‘What?’
If you missed out on what somebody, said and you need them to repeat ‘what’ would be considered slightly rude, ‘pardon?’ or ‘sorry’ are much more preferable instead; as they express that you are apologetic for having missed out what someone said.
‘What?’ on the other hand, might reflect a lack of interest. For example:
“Pardon? Can you repeat your question? Please, I missed out on the last part.”
“Sorry? Did you say Marissa or Melissa?”
3. ‘Yes, Please’ vs. ‘Yes’
When you are asked or offered something, instead of just saying ‘yes’, ‘yes please’ sounds significantly more polite. For instance, if you are eating out at a restaurant with someone and the waiter inquires:
“Would you like ice in your drink Sir?’
“Yes, please” would likely impress, the person accompanying you at the dinner, than a plain and simple, “Yes”.
4. ‘Thank You’ vs. ‘Thanx’
Using either demonstrates politeness, as you might be thinking they mean the same thing what’s the difference? Well there is, ‘thanx’ is an abbreviation, a shortcut which seems informal. You tend to use abbreviations, when you are pressed for time. While, just completing the expression and saying ‘thank you’ takes a nanosecond more but it makes the other person feel valued, that you are willing to give them just a split second more and are not hurrying your communication.
So when someone opens the door for you next time, say “Thank you”, instead of just “Thanx”.
5. ‘That Sounds Great’ and ‘I Am Afraid’
Also known as conversation softeners, are a great way of disagreeing, with someone. They are meant to soften the blow, and keep the other person from getting defensive; due to outright rejection. For example, when you want to turn down an invitation, you can say:
“That’s sounds great but I am afraid, I won’t be able to make it on Saturday.”
Or when you just don’t agree, with something, you can put it diplomatically by saying:
“That sounds great but I am afraid, that might not be a very good idea.” Instead of out rightly saying, “That idea pretty much sucks” or “That’s a horrible idea”.
6. ‘Excuse Me’
When you want to catch someone’s attention or ask someone to give you way, a polite way to do this would be by saying ‘excuse me’. ‘Get out of the way’, ‘get aside’ or ‘Dude, you are blocking the way!’ are the rather impolite counterparts of ‘excuse me’.
To get someone’s attention and request/ask something you can say:
“Excuse me, could you pass me the bowl of rice please.”
“Excuse me, can you direct me to the nearest Pharmacy.”