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  1. thedaffodils's Avatar
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    #1

    Is "You look young" offensive?

    Hi,

    I am reading an article about learning English in Chinese.

    It said it is offensive to say "you look young" in English. If I say it to a young person or a middle-age person, he/she would think I mean he is inexperienced. If I say it to an older man, he would think I mean he only look young, but actually he isold.

    It is proper to say "You don't look your age" or "You're still young".

    Do you agree with that?

    Thank you!

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Is "You look young" offensive?

    Personally, "you're still young" is patronizing. I know how old I am. I know how old I feel. I know what the statistics say about my lifespan. I don't need you to tell me any of that.

    However, VERY generally speaking, hearing something like "I would have guessed you were younger" is a nice thing to hear when you're a middle-aged woman.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #3

    Re: Is "You look young" offensive?

    I think it depends on the person you say that to. If the person is not young, they probably take it as a compliment. But the verb "look" does not imply inexperience I guess, so even a young person would probably not be offended.

  3. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Is "You look young" offensive?

    A 15-year-old does not want to be told they look younger. They want to look "grown up."
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  4. Raymott's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Is "You look young" offensive?

    I can remember when I had just graduated. Some patients and other people would say, "You look young to be a doctor". It didn't offend me, but it had me wondering "Well, what can I do about that?" Yes, it certainly can have the implication of "You look inexperienced" when said in the right context. I forget how Doogie Howser used to handle this - not that I was a Doogie Howser!
    It's worse to say "You look too young to be a Supreme Court judge or whatever."

  5. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Is "You look young" offensive?

    I saw my first patient when I was 23. When my client said "you look very young", I said "I was born at a very early age". We laughed and then went on. The dog had an intestinal foreign body (corn cob) and we fixed him.

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    #7

    Re: Is "You look young" offensive?

    I don't think that the phrase is offensive- it depends on who it saying it and the context. If a stranger said it to me, I would be a bit surprised, but if a friend said it, I might feel pleased that I am not showing my age.

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