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  1. #1
    Ju is offline Senior Member
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    Red face one who's never get a chance to go to school

    What is the polite way to describe someone who's never get a chance to go to school that's why he/she is unable to read or write.
    1. He is uneducated
    2. He is illiterate
    3. He is unlearned
    Are the above expression polite?
    How could I make them better in order not to look down upon him?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: one who's never get a chance to go to school

    1 & 3 don't imply that they can't read and write. For me, 2 doesn't sound rude- it would depend on the context and how you deal with the person.

  3. #3
    Ouisch's Avatar
    Ouisch is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: one who's never get a chance to go to school

    If someone can't read or write, there's really no other way to describe them other than to say "illiterate" (even if it does sound harsh). You can soften the description a bit by saying something like "He never had the opportunity to receive formal education, and as a result, he is illiterate."

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