Polite? Yes, we are British!

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Today we want to share an article with you about Britons and their politeness.

Everybody knows that for British people politeness is very important: never forget to say “Please”, “Thank you” and to use those incredibly difficult modal verbs. What’s the point? To make what you say sound less direct. For example, a simple request like “Close the window” must become “Could you close the window, please?” Or, even better, “Would you mind closing the window, please?”

Obviously this obsession with being less direct causes a lot of problems for English learners, who think “it is difficult enough to say ‘Close the window’, why do I have to make things even more complicated?” But there is more: look at the table in the article and learn what British people really mean when they speak. Remember that if someone tells you “You must come for dinner”, they don’t really expect you to knock on their door with a bottle of wine in your hand!

Here’s the article, and there’s a little glossary below that you might find helpful. We think it’s quite funny (quite funny, or do we mean really funny?), we hope you’ll enjoy it too!

To shed light – to make clear

To take something at face value – to accept that something is exactly as it appears

To prove tricky – to be difficult

Handy – useful

To fathom – to understand

Weaselly – misleading


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