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  1. #1
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    Default meaning of 'mind your p's and q's'?

    Dear teachers~!
    A text says 'mind your p's and q's' means 'pay up'.
    but another text says it means 'watch your mouth'
    what is the right meaning?
    both of them are right?

  2. #2
    RonBee's Avatar
    RonBee is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: meaning of 'mind your p's and q's'?

    Mind your p's and q's means mind your manners, which could mean watch what you say.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: meaning of 'mind your p's and q's'?

    Quote Originally Posted by falling slowly View Post
    Dear teachers~!
    A text says 'mind your p's and q's' means 'pay up'.
    but another text says it means 'watch your mouth'
    what is the right meaning?
    both of them are right?
    I think it's an old British English expression, mind your p's (please) and q's (thankyou's). In other words, be polite.

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    Default Re: meaning of 'mind your p's and q's'?

    One possible explanation: It is advice to children learning to write to take care not to mix up the lower-case letters p and q.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: meaning of 'mind your p's and q's'?

    Quote Originally Posted by amigos4 View Post
    One possible explanation: It is advice to children learning to write to take care not to mix up the lower-case letters p and q.
    I've always taken this to mean "be careful; don't mess up" rather than any moral meaning.
    I believe it was derived from earlier times when printers had to stack lead print letters into racks - it was easy to mix up p's and q's because they had to put them in backwards." It still means (metaphorically) the same thing.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: meaning of 'mind your p's and q's'?

    That's the most convincing version I've heard too. It's always struck me that the 'please/thank yous' one was probably invented by Victorian governesses! (Governess - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

    b

  7. #7
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    Default Re: meaning of 'mind your p's and q's'?

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    That's the most convincing version I've heard too. It's always struck me that the 'please/thank yous' one was probably invented by Victorian governesses! (Governess - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

    b
    Yes, you could be right there.

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