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    English Politness

    Good morning,I am an italian english student and I would be glad if someone could tell me what english people really think, about the fact they are considered the most polite people in the world.It seems to me that sometimes politeness is used only to make a request and it sounds a bit artificial.Is it possible that interacting with english people means interacting with perpetually friendly people?Am I right when I talk about artificiality?I was wondering if you could possibly clear this wrong impression.Thank you,Roberta.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England

    • Join Date: Feb 2005
    • Posts: 2,585

    Re: English Politness

    Hello Roberta, welcome to Using English!

    In my experience, although English people like to be addressed in a polite fashion, they do not always feel any compulsion to respond accordingly.

    If English people are indeed the most polite people in the world, I suddenly feel very apprehensive about my next trip overseas...

    Best wishes,


    Not a professional ESL teacher.

    • Join Date: Nov 2007
    • Posts: 5,409

    Exclamation Re: English Politness

    Yes, we value politeness in the sense of a pleasant, friendly interchange with those we meet and have some interaction with during the day.
    Some may preserve civility despite much rude provocation from others (particularly foreigners), though these days, let someone cross the line, they will also politely (and not so politely) be put in their place!

    I notice particularly when I'm in the States how brusque and off-hand their manner is to shop assistants, counter-attendants etc. When I'm just my British self, like when hiring an Avis car over there recently, the woman serving me and I had a good old laugh together...and she went out of her way and of her own accord organized a tremendous, unexpected deal for me on the car!
    Last edited by David L.; 17-Sep-2008 at 18:35.

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      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
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    • Join Date: Nov 2002
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    Re: English Politness

    Many value politeness and manners very highly, but we also have (and always have had) an element who are exceedingly rude and impolite. As for being the most polite people in the world, it depends a lot on your definition. I was amazed by the politeness in Japan, but how much of that is simply cultural - shop assistants don't bow in Britain.

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