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    #1

    formal and polite

    Hi

    Supposing we have the following sentences:

    Could you pass me the pen, please?

    Would you mind passing me the pen, please?

    1. Which one is more formal than the other one ?

    2. Is please necessary here?

    3. Which sentence would you use in a conversation?

    4. Which sentence is more polite? If both, then what is the difference?


    Thank you very much in advance.

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    #2

    Re: formal and polite

    Quote Originally Posted by teia_petrescu View Post
    Hi

    Supposing we have the following sentences:

    Could you pass me the pen, please?

    Would you mind passing me the pen, please?

    1. Which one is more formal than the other one ? To my ear, the 2nd - because it implies a more submissive/subordinate attitude.

    2. Is please necessary here? Not necessary, but as my Aunty Katy used to say 'it doesn't cost anything'.

    3. Which sentence would you use in a conversation? Either, depending on the 'politics' of the situation.

    4. Which sentence is more polite? If both, then what is the difference? As I said in my answer to 1, the difference is one of social politics; if I wanted to suggest '...but I recognize your superior strength/role/position/value, and would accept your decision if you didn't want to' I'd use the 2nd.


    Thank you very much in advance.
    you're welcome.
    [Incidentally, I tend to err on the side of excessive politeness; when I was directing my boss driving to an off-site meeting, she thought it strange that I said things like 'Turn right please'. But I say the same to my wife.]



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    #3

    Re: formal and polite

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    you're welcome.
    [Incidentally, I tend to err on the side of excessive politeness; when I was directing my boss driving to an off-site meeting, she thought it strange that I said things like 'Turn right please'. But I say the same to my wife.]



    b
    Thank you Bob.

    One more question: how were you supposed to address to your boss instead of `Turn right please`? Did she expect you to say `Would you mind turning right please`?


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    #4

    Re: formal and polite

    Quote Originally Posted by teia_petrescu View Post
    Thank you Bob.

    One more question: how were you supposed to address to your boss instead of `Turn right please`? Did she expect you to say `Would you mind turning right please`?
    In my opinion you can never be too polite, but then again I am Canadian and we are known for this

    As far as Turn right please versus Would you mind turning right please they are both technically correct.

    Turn right please is more of a demand but you might say it this way if it is necessary to do it right at that moment. You are still polite but forceful. For example you are in the passenger seat of a car, your Boss is driving and if he misses the turn you will not get to where you want to go.

    Would you mind turning right please in this case you might say this if you would like this to happen but if the boss says no it is not serious.

    The latter expression in speaking English would not be polite though if you stressed the word "mind". A photographer might be frustrated taking a portrait of young person who won't co-operate and he says the sentence in this way to show his frustration...even though he used the word "please".

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    #5

    Re: formal and polite

    Quote Originally Posted by Naamplao View Post
    In my opinion you can never be too polite, but then again I am Canadian and we are known for this

    As far as Turn right please versus Would you mind turning right please they are both technically correct.

    Turn right please is more of a demand but you might say it this way if it is necessary to do it right at that moment. You are still polite but forceful. For example you are in the passenger seat of a car, your Boss is driving and if he misses the turn you will not get to where you want to go.

    Would you mind turning right please in this case you might say this if you would like this to happen but if the boss says no it is not serious.

    The latter expression in speaking English would not be polite though if you stressed the word "mind". A photographer might be frustrated taking a portrait of young person who won't co-operate and he says the sentence in this way to show his frustration...even though he used the word "please".

    Hi Naamplao

    Turn right please is more of a demand .... You are still polite but forceful... -I got the right meaning.

    Thank you very much.

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    #6

    Re: formal and polite

    Quote Originally Posted by teia_petrescu View Post
    Hi
    Hi!

    Supposing we have the following sentences:

    Could you pass me the pen, please?
    Would you mind passing me the pen, please?

    1. Which one is more formal than the other one?
    => The second because traditionally "could" is used to express ability, not requests.

    2. Is please necessary here?
    => "Necessary" in what way? It tips the politeness scale in a favorable way.

    3. Which sentence would you use in a conversation?
    => The first because spoken language is less formal.

    4. Which sentence is more polite?
    => It would depend on the context and the intonation used. As is, both are equally polite, but the second one is considered formal language.


    Thank you very much in advance.
    => You're welcome in advance.

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    #7

    Re: formal and polite

    Quote Originally Posted by teia_petrescu View Post
    Thank you Bob.

    One more question: how were you supposed to address to your boss instead of `Turn right please`? Did she expect you to say `Would you mind turning right please`?
    On the contrary - she expected me to be less polite. It's usual (in the UK, that is) to give directions like this: 'turn right here/now/at these lights' or 'take this right'.

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    #8

    Re: formal and polite

    Hi Soup!


    Well, I wrongly thought that please would be too much or too polite when added to the addressing formula `would you mind...`
    If I think it over, I find that if I said :Would you mind turning right, the answer might sound : Yes, I would.

    You're welcome in advance.- what could I say more?

    By the way, is this sentence -Thank you very much in advance- usual in A.E? How is it considered : formal, too formal or just polite?
    It`s my pleasure to thank you again.
    Last edited by Teia; 29-Sep-2007 at 19:44.

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    #9

    Re: formal and polite

    Quote Originally Posted by teia_petrescu View Post
    If I think it over, I find that if I said :Would you mind turning right, the answer might sound : Yes, I would.
    That's another possible interpretation, yes. Again, intonation and context are key here. Imperative Turn right, please is just as polite as would you mind turning right, please, but as for formal language, only the second is a contender.

    Quote Originally Posted by teia
    By the way, is this sentence -Thank you very much in advance- usual in A.E? How is it considered: formal, too formal or just polite?
    It's kind and polite. As for whether it's formal language, that would depend on who(m) you are addressing. Usually the verb;i.e. thank you, isn't found sentence initially in formal language; but there is also modern language usage to take into consideration. That is, how "formal" is formal language these days?

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    #10

    Re: formal and polite

    Quote Originally Posted by Soup View Post
    That's another possible interpretation, yes. Again, intonation and context are key here. Imperative Turn right, please is just as polite as would you mind turning right, please, but as for formal language, only the second is a contender.

    It's kind and polite. As for whether it's formal language, that would depend on who(m) you are addressing. Usually the verb;i.e. thank you, isn't found sentence initially in formal language; but there is also modern language usage to take into consideration. That is, how "formal" is formal language these days?
    A formal language might sound compositional and pretentious , but ,as you have already stated ,it depends on who you are addressing to.
    I try to understand and learn how far I -as a learner of English language - can go when addressing to somebody in a formal way without falling in the trap of being too formal or regarded as such.

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