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    • Join Date: Apr 2004
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    #1

    degree of politeness

    (1)How can I help you?
    (2)What can i help you with?
    (3)Can i help you?


    What kind of people would say what kind of sentence?

    (1) usually customer service
    (2) cosmetic saleslady


    :wink:

  1. Casiopea's Avatar

    • Join Date: Sep 2003
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    #2

    Re: degree of politeness

    Quote Originally Posted by blacknomi
    (1)How can I help you?
    (2)What can i help you with?
    (3)Can i help you?


    What kind of people would say what kind of sentence?

    (1) usually customer service
    (2) cosmetic saleslady


    :wink:
    Both (1) and (2). :D


    • Join Date: Apr 2004
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    #3

    Re: degree of politeness

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    Quote Originally Posted by blacknomi
    (1)How can I help you?
    (2)What can i help you with?
    (3)Can i help you?


    What kind of people would say what kind of sentence?

    (1) usually customer service
    (2) cosmetic saleslady


    :wink:
    Both (1) and (2). :D
    I see. As for business communication, I think (1) and (2) are almost the same in degree of courtesy. But (3) is not as courteous as one and two. When I chat with my friends, I sometimes use (1) and (2) in a ironic way to give my friends a hint that they are all thumbs.

    For example:

    I was having pizza with my friend, Susan. Susan tried to slice the pizza but she failed. I thought maybe her cutter wasn't sharp so that she couldn't cut her pizza into pieces. I let her use mine. Susan tried zillions of time, still, it didn't work well at all. I was trying to tease her and say in a very sarcastic dragging tone, "Susan, what can I help you with!"


    Hope you can figure out my meanings. Do Americans or British have the similiar usage?

    :wink:

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    #4
    Of the 3, I think the one I wouldn't use is 2).


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    #5
    You could also say (polite & rather formal):
    How can I be of assistance to you?

    FRC

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    #6
    That sounds a bit wooden to me.


    • Join Date: Apr 2004
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    #7
    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    Of the 3, I think the one I wouldn't use is 2).
    I agree. In fact I've often herd the other two in department stores.


    • Join Date: Jun 2004
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    #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Francois
    You could also say (polite & rather formal):
    How can I be of assistance to you?

    FRC
    I don't know? But to me, it sounds so wordy and awkward


    • Join Date: Jun 2004
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    #9
    It depends on context I guess. You would not say that to a friend, but in some circumstances a wordy question is not amiss.

    FRC

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    #10
    You could use it in an ironic manner.

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