degree of politeness

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blacknomi

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(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:
 

Casiopea

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blacknomi said:
(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
 

blacknomi

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Casiopea said:
blacknomi said:
(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:
 

Tdol

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Of the 3, I think the one I wouldn't use is 2). ;-)
 

Tdol

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That sounds a bit wooden to me.;-)
 

Francois

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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
 

Tdol

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You could use it in an ironic manner. ;-)
 

Francois

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Yeah, for instance.
In some shops/businesses I would not find it out of place. Of course you would not say that to someone who cannot cut a slice of pizza.

FRC
 

blacknomi

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Francois said:
Yeah, for instance.
In some shops/businesses I would not find it out of place. Of course you would not say that to someone who cannot cut a slice of pizza.

FRC

Why not?
She has the ability to cut it, of course. But she's somehow clumsy at that moment. I just want to make my tone more sarcastic. :wink:
 

Francois

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Well, for one thing you would say that if someone called you or went up to you in the first place, but it is not suitable to propose unsollicited help.
Furthermore, it can come across as a bit "pedantic", which is probably a bit too much for your playful sarcasm.

FRC
 

blacknomi

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Francois said:
Well, for one thing you would say that if someone called you or went up to you in the first place, but it is not suitable to propose unsollicited help.
Furthermore, it can come across as a bit "pedantic", which is probably a bit too much for your playful sarcasm.

FRC

I see. Million thanks. FRC.

I heard my teacher said "Can I help you?" to my friend who was all thumbs at cutting pizza. I think it's not only the idea of giving a hand, but a bit playful sarcasm. :D
 
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