Be Polite In English And Stop Being RUDE | Useful Phrases For Speaking Politely – English Understood (2023)

I want a green tea.Is this sentence polite in English? Let’s find out.

What’s up guys? My name is Shane and today we are talkingabout how to be polite in English and how to stop being rude.

I understand that in many languages if you say I want thisor I want that, it’s okay.

But in English if you say I want this or I want that, it’snot very nice. It has the feeling of being a demand and not a request. And ademand is something that must be done. It needs to be done.

But a request is more like a question and it’s more polite.It’s something that is asked for.

So in today’s lesson, we learn about the basics of beingpolite in English and we learn seven phrases that you can use to start soundingmore polite in English.

And make sure you watch until the end of the video becausethere will be a quiz to test you understanding. Okay, let’s get started.

Basic rules of being polite in English

So the first thing we need to do today is to learn thebasics, to learn the rules of being polite in English.

Rule #1

(Video) How To Be Polite In English (Vocabulary For Speaking Polite English)

The first thing you can do is: with polite phrases, whenpossible, use modal verbs.

For example: could or would. So you could say somethinglike: could I have a coffee please? This is very polite.

Or would you like to go to a movie tonight? This is verypolite.

Rule #2

The second thing you can do is: when possible, askquestions, don’t make statements.

For example: I want a coffee. No. Could I have a coffee?Yes.

Rule #3

The third thing you can do is: switch to the past tense whenpossible.

For example: don’t say do you want a coffee. Say did youwant a coffee?

I understand we’re talking about right now but when weswitch to the past tense in English, it makes it more polite.

Rule #4

And the fourth thing you can do is to learn phrases thatnative speakers use when they want to be polite. Let’s look at the first oneright now.

Phrase #1

Let’s pretend you are at a restaurant. And you’re sittingdown at the table looking at the menu. You’re still not ready to order but thewaiter comes over to you and says: are you ready to order yet? What can you sayto ask him for more time?

Don’t say: go away. This is very very impolite.

What you can say is: Could you give me a few minutes please?Could you give me a few minutes please?

This is a very polite phrase to say I’m not ready yet.Please come back soon. I’m not ready yet. Please come back soon.

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And when a native speaker says this really quickly, itsounds like this. Couldjyuh give me a few minutes please? Couldjyuh give me afew minutes please?

We don’t say could you, we say couldjyuh. Couldjyuh give mea few minutes please? Now you try. Couldjyuh give me a few minutes please?

Phrase #2

Let’s pretend you are at a café. You’re sitting down andyou’re looking at the menu. You know what you want to order you want to order agreen tea.

And the waiter comes over to you and he says what would youlike to order? How can you ask for a green tea in a very polite way?

Don’t say I want a green tea.

What you can say instead is could I have a green teaplease? Could I have a green tea please?

Another phrase you could use is: I’d like a green teaplease. I’d like a green teaplease. These two phrases are verypolite ways to request for something in English.

Phrase #3

Let’s pretend you are at university and you are doing aproject with your friend and you need him to do something for you. How can you ask him to do something for you?

Don’t say do this for me. Do this for me. No.

What you can say instead is: when you have a second, couldyou do this for me? When you have a second, could you do this for me?

This is a very very polite way to ask someone to dosomething for you. It means when you’refree, can you do this for me please? When you’re free, can you do this for meplease?

Some other examples could be: when you have a second, couldyou call me please? Or when you have a second, could you go to the shop and getme some bread please?

Phrase #4

Let’s pretend you need to ask someone a question. You needto ask about the location of the nearest train station. What can you say?

Don’t say where is the nearest train station.

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What you can say instead is: I was wondering if you knewwhere the nearest train station was? Iwas wondering if you knew where the nearest train station was?

I was wondering if a very polite way to ask someone aquestion.

And note here how we say knew, we don’t say know. We sayknew in the past tense because one of the rules of the basics of being politein English is to change things to the past tense.

You can also use this phrase on the phone. For example: hi,I was wondering if you could help me? I would like to speak to someone in theeducation department.

So the next time you need to ask someone something, try thisphrase. It’s very very polite.

Phrase #5

Let’s pretend your friends ask you to go to a party onSaturday night and you don’t really want to go.How can you politely decline or say no to their request?

Don’t say no.

What you can say instead is I would love to, but… I wouldlove to, but.. and then you give a reason.

For example, you could say: I would love to but I have towork. Or I would love to but I have to study for my exam. This is a very politeway to say no to someone.

Phrase #6

Let’s pretend you want to meet your friend for lunch nextweek, and you want to know what days he is free. What can you say to him? Howcan you ask that politely?

Don’t say tell me when you’re free.

What you can say instead is: let me know when you’refree. Let me know when you’re free.

This is a very polite way to ask someone to tell yousomething. Let me know. Let me know when you’re free.

Phrase #7

Let’s pretend you are talking to your boss at work and hesays something that you don’t agree with. You think he’s wrong. How can youpolitely disagree with him?

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Don’t say you’re wrong.

What you can say instead is: I understand what you’resaying, but … I understand what you’resaying, but … and then you give yourreasons.

So maybe you could say: I understand what you’re saying, butmaybe you haven’t seen this part of the project yet.

This is a very good phrase, a very polite phrase you can useto disagree with someone.


Okay so we have learned some basic phrases for being politein English. But now let’s have a little quiz to test your understanding. I will tell you a situation and I want you totell me which polite phrase you could use in that situation.

Number one. You’re at a shopping center and you see a juicebar and you want to go over there to order a strawberry juice. What could yousay to the waiter?

You could say: could I have a strawberry juice please? Could I have a strawberry juice please?

Remember, could I have is a very polite way to requestsomething.

Number two. You’re talking to your friend about English, howto learn English. And he says learning pronunciation isn’t very important, youdon’t need to do it. And you disagree with that, what could you say to him?

You could say: I understand what you’re saying, but .. Iunderstand what you’re saying, but .. and then give your reasons.

So remember, if you ever want to disagree with someone, youcan always say I understand what you’re saying, but .. and then give yourreasons.

Number three. You’re at work and you’re doing project withyour colleague. And you need your colleague to find some information for you.How can you politely request that your colleague finds that information foryou?

You could say: when you’ve got a second, could you find theinformation for me? When you’ve got asecond, could you find the information for me?

Because remember, don’t say find the information for me. Youneed to say when you’ve got a second. This makes it really really polite.

And that is the end of the lesson today. Now you know the basics of being polite inEnglish.

And if you’re interested in learning more phrases nativespeakers use all the time, then you can check out this video right here. If youhave any questions, please comment down below and if you haven’t subscribedalready, make sure you subscribe right now so you don’t miss any video, justlike this one, that can help you understand English like a native speaker.

(Video) Polite English Phrases To Criticise Someone Without Being Rude | Spoken English Practice | Michelle

If you learned something today, please hit like and pleaseshare this with your friends who are learning English so they can understandhow to be polite in English and stop being rude.

And for daily quizzes, daily posts, videos, updates, lessonsand much much more, make sure you are following me on Instagram and I will seeyou in the next video. But you’re stillnot sure what you want to eat and what you want to. I want a green tea. No, no,no, no. This is very …


How can I be polite in English phrases? ›

9 Things Polite People Always Say
  1. Please.
  2. Thank You.
  3. You're Welcome.
  4. Pardon Me.
  5. Excuse Me.
  6. I'm Sorry.
  7. May I Help You?
  8. I Would Like... / May I Please Have...?
Feb 17, 2023

Why is it important to be polite when you speak English? ›

Politeness helps us to deal with other people easily and smoothly. It helps us get on with strangers in a crowded place (like in the underground) and it helps us get what we want (say “Please” and your transactions get easier). Politeness is something we learn as children, and we expect to see it in other people, too.

What is an example of a polite expression in a sentence? ›

If you will follow me, please. (more polite than Follow me, please.) We use other expressions with if to express politeness: if you don't mind, if it's OK with you, if I may say so, if it'll help: If you don't mind, I think I need that cup of tea.

What are the polite expressions we have to use while speaking? ›

Please, thank you, excuse me, and you're welcome in English. Please, Thank You, Excuse Me, and You're Welcome are four of the most common polite expressions in English. You can use these phrases in formal and informal situations.

How can I be polite and show respect in English? ›

Show respect with your actions
  1. Be on time. Be punctual. Do you know that word? ...
  2. Listen to people. Another important and respectful action that people in English-speaking countries really value is listening. ...
  3. Don't push in. Waiting patiently for your turn is a hallmark of respect in English-speaking cultures.
Aug 18, 2021

Why is it important to be polite? ›

Politeness can and will improve your relationships with others, help to build respect and rapport, boost your self-esteem and confidence, and improve your communication skills.

Why speaking is the most important skill in English? ›

Speaking skills are one of the most important skills we learn, as they allow us to communicate with others and express our thoughts and feelings. Speaking skills can be separated into formal and informal speaking skills, and we use both types of speaking skills in a variety of contexts throughout life.

How do you politely communicate? ›

Follow these tips and you should make the right impression when you talk to people.
  1. Listen and be understanding. ...
  2. Avoid negative words - instead use positive words in a negative form. ...
  3. Say the magic word: Sorry. ...
  4. Use little words to soften your statements. ...
  5. Avoid 'finger pointing' statements with the word 'you'
Aug 16, 2017

How to be more polite? ›

These tips will help you to show respect and be polite to Americans.
  1. Say “please” ...
  2. Say “thank you” ...
  3. Say “sorry” ...
  4. Cover your mouth when your burp or cough. ...
  5. Say “hello” when you meet new people. ...
  6. Don't shake hands if you don't feel comfortable. ...
  7. Stand at least a foot away when you are talking to someone new.

What are 5 polite expressions to clarify meaning? ›

So, your idea would be to ... Could you clarify what you mean by ...? Could you be more specific? Sorry, I don't quite understand. Perhaps you could give me an example?

What are some examples of polite? ›

True politeness is about so much more than holding open doors.
  • They say “Please” and “Thank you” ...
  • They don't touch people without permission. ...
  • They can admit when they're wrong. ...
  • They don't ask overly personal questions. ...
  • They accept correction graciously. ...
  • They make others feel comfortable. ...
  • They don't interrupt.
Jun 25, 2020

What is the most polite thing to say? ›

14 Things Polite People Always Say
  • “Hello” ...
  • “Please” ...
  • “Thank you” ...
  • “You're welcome” ...
  • “Excuse me” ...
  • The other person's name. ...
  • “I'm happy to see you” ...
  • “That's so kind of you”
Feb 7, 2023

How do you politely refuse in English? ›

How to Say No Politely in English
  1. I am sorry, but I can't.
  2. No thank you.
  3. I am sorry, but + (reason)
  4. I would love to, but + (reason)
  5. I wish I could, but + (reason)
  6. I am sorry, but I can't because + (reason)
  7. Thank you, but + (reason)
  8. That sounds good, but + (reason)

What are 5 ways to show respect? ›

Main body
  • Be kind and courteous.
  • Be polite, avoid interrupting or causing disturbances.
  • Listen to others and respect differences in beliefs and opinions.
  • Think before you speak, your language and tone.
  • Lend a helping hand or ear and practice compassion.

How do you show respect to others in words? ›

Top 10 ways to show respect in the workplace
  1. Say something. ...
  2. Smile. ...
  3. Say “thank you.” It may seem like common sense, but many people forget to say thank you or don't say it with sincerity. ...
  4. Be considerate and discreet. ...
  5. Apologize. ...
  6. Participate constructively. ...
  7. Respond in a timely manner. ...
  8. Go the extra mile.
Feb 17, 2017

How can I be polite and humble? ›

13 Habits Of Humble People
  1. They're Situationally Aware. ...
  2. They Retain Relationships. ...
  3. They Make Difficult Decisions With Ease. ...
  4. They Put Others First. ...
  5. They Listen. ...
  6. They're Curious. ...
  7. They Speak Their Minds. ...
  8. They Take Time To Say “Thank You”
Mar 1, 2015

Which skill is most used with respect to any language? ›

Speaking - It is learning to speak English why probably every person in the world starts learning it, and we agree, speaking is probably the most important aspect of learning a language. It allows you to communicate with different people, express your thoughts freely, and become an active member of a new community.

Which English skill is the most important in communication? ›

So, speaking is the most important skill among all the four language skills in order to communicate well in this global world. As English is widely used all over the world, there is a need for learners to acquire the communication skills of it to get success in their respective fields.

What are the 3 rules of politeness in a conversation? ›

Rules two (Be Polite) consists of a sub set of three rules: (1) don't impose, (2) give options, (3) make A feel good – be friendly. These rules are deceptively concise, but they are actually complex because language provides multiple forms for expressing them.

How do you communicate without sounding rude? ›

Daryl Fletcher
  1. Choose your words carefully. This is especially important if you're going to assert yourself in situations where you were previously passive. ...
  2. Develop good listening skills. ...
  3. Avoid taking things personally. ...
  4. Be humble. ...
  5. Show confidence. ...
  6. Handle negative issues quickly. ...
  7. Deal with feelings of superiority.
Apr 22, 2018

How do you tell someone to speak respectfully? ›

I need you to speak in a more respectful way. I am finding your words hurtful and I need you to consider my feelings. I will give you time to calm down. We can talk when you can be respectful.

How can I be polite and not rude? ›

Here's what the experts suggest:
  1. Acknowledge people and express appreciation. Say hello, thank you, and all the other niceties you know. ...
  2. Don't let rude behavior fester. ...
  3. Avoid rude people. ...
  4. Think about how your behavior will sit with others. ...
  5. Apologize if you do find yourself being rude. ...
  6. Believe in decency. ...
  7. Smile!
May 22, 2018

How do you politely say no? ›

10 different ways to say no
  1. Sadly, I have something else going on.
  2. I have another commitment.
  3. I wish I were able to.
  4. I'm afraid I can't.
  5. I don't have the bandwidth for that right now.
  6. I'm honored you asked me, but I simply can't.
  7. Thanks for thinking of me. ...
  8. I'm sorry, I'm not able to fit this in.
Jan 7, 2022

What is a polite answer? ›

Yes I can/Yes, sure thing. Yes of course!/Of course I will. Yes I can. It's this way. Sure.

How do you say please clarify in a nice way? ›

20 Email Expressions to Ask for Clarification
  1. If I understood you correctly, you would like me to...
  2. As previously stated…
  3. Could you please clarify what you meant by…?
  4. Sorry if I was unclear. ...
  5. As per my last email…
  6. Please let me know if I misunderstood. ...
  7. Please let me know how we can avoid this in the future.
Mar 17, 2021

What phrases do you use to ask for clarification? ›

Let's listen to a few useful phrases: I'm sorry but I'm not sure (that) I understand. Sorry, I'm not sure (that) I know what you mean.
For many of them, you can use “can” or “could,” with could being a little more formal:
  • Could you say it in another way?
  • Can you clarify that for me?
  • Could you rephrase that?
Jan 3, 2019

What is polite behavior? ›

To "Be Polite" means to: Say Hello, Make Eye-Contact. Say “Please” and “Thank You” Be Aware and Respect the Feelings of Other People. Learn to Listen Attentively.

What is the quality of being polite? ›

The adjective polite comes from the mid-13th century Latin politus, which means "refined" or "elegant." Showing consideration for others, using tact, and observing social norms are the qualities of being polite. The opposite of polite is rude.

What are the three magic words of courtesy? ›

The building blocks of proper etiquette and good manners begin with the magic words "please", "thank you", "you're welcome" and "I'm sorry". These are the words and phrases that should be taught to children from an early age.

How do you call a person with good manners? ›

  1. affable.
  2. considerate.
  3. cordial.
  4. courteous.
  5. gentlemanly.
  6. gracious.
  7. polite.
  8. respectful.

What are the golden words that we should use? ›

Please, sorry and thank you are known as the Golden Words. Using these three words means you have good manners. Remember, everyone likes children who have good manners.

How do you say rude without saying rude? ›

What is another word for rude? impolite, bad-mannered, ill-mannered, mannerless, unmannerly, and discourteous.

Why should our language be polite and respectful? ›

So, basically it's treating people with respect. Politeness is very important in life. ... And I think what he meant by that is that if you're polite, people will listen and take your arguments, ideas, opinions seriously. They may even change their own behaviour and do what you'd like them to do!

Why it is important to be polite and use a quiet voice? ›

It helps you look more professional. This will also help you to avoid offending anyone. Using informal language in a formal setting might sound arrogant and disrespectful. This will badly affect others' impression of you.

Why is speaking nicely important? ›

Everything from your tone, words, and body language indicates your level of confidence and authority, and if you do not come across as deserving of respect or attention, you are unlikely to get it. While you may not be a natural leader, you can still learn to speak with authority and show others your confidence.

Why should we respect our language? ›

Maintaining your first language is critical to your identity and contributes to a positive self-concept. The Intercultural Development Research Association (IDRA) reiterates that continuing to study your mother tongue after childhood helps you learn how to value your culture and heritage.

What is it important to speak softly to others? ›

When you speak softly, people listen better. You can deliver your message more effectively when people listen to you without feeling threatened. If you speak softly with clear messages, you can hear the other people in your group. A group that speaks softly sounds better.

What do you do if others are not polite to you? ›

Call the person out on his or her behavior.

Another tactic to stop the spiral of rudeness is to simply call them out on their behavior and ask them to stop. If someone you can't get away from is consistently rude to you, you need to address the issue directly. There is no need for you to take ongoing abuse from anyone.

Why is it important to have clear polite and confident communication? ›

Communicating openly, clearly, and with empathy will help in building rapport with a team and boost their spirit productively. Establishes Transparency – Transparency generates trust among employees. Trust creates an environment where people are honest and accountable.

How can I improve the way I speak? ›

How to improve your speaking skills
  1. Pronounce words correctly. Several words in English are notorious for tripping people up when it comes to pronunciation. ...
  2. Listen to spoken English. ...
  3. Read aloud. ...
  4. Learn to sing. ...
  5. Learn to act. ...
  6. Get into poetry. ...
  7. Build your vocabulary. ...
  8. Speak to strangers.
May 19, 2022

How to improve speaking skills? ›

By Reshmi VM
  1. Listen. The first step in improving your speaking skills is actually working on your listening. ...
  2. Imitate. Now that you have listened to lots of English conversations, it's time for some imitation. ...
  3. Read. Reading is yet another important skill to have when learning a language. ...
  4. Reflect. ...
  5. Prepare. ...
  6. Speak. ...
  7. Practise.
Oct 18, 2021

How do you show respect in words? ›

Use them daily and you can be sure your leadership is moving in the right direction.
  1. “Please” It may seem basic, but treating others with respect goes a long way. ...
  2. “Thank You” ...
  3. “Tell Me More” ...
  4. “I'm Proud of You” ...
  5. “What Do You Think?” ...
  6. “It's Your Call” ...
  7. “You're Doing Great” ...
  8. “We're All in This Together”

How do you show respect in language? ›

Listen instead of 'talking over'

When you open space for someone to speak, you show that you respect them. We do this every time we have a conversation with someone. Take the time to listen and let them have their say. In contrast, 'talking over' someone is another common microaggression.


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