How to Implement Polite Constructions in Your Speech

In: How to

Politeness and the ways of its expression

Politeness can be described in general as the way of pleasing someone without imposing any obligation to either party. It is the means of the social communication. “Would you…”, “Please…”, “Thank you!, holding the door in order to let the lady with two kids behind you to walk in, stopping to let a car with the inexperienced driver to drive out the parkway, and so on. All these phrases and actions aim to help the other people or show the respect and friendliness towards them.

Politeness is also a good tool in the business communication. Being polite to clients, a seller or manufacturer can gain their loyalty and acquire a good reputation that will attract yet other customers. Being polite with the seller, the customer can increase his chances for the better or extra service. When you order the proofreading for your essay in the editing company, don’t forget to use polite constructions, such as “That would be nice if….”, “Could you please edit this piece of paper and let the rest stay as it is?”, “Thank you very much for your job”. That will most certainly earn you the fastest proofreading and the discounts and bonuses in future.

The interpersonal communication exists in two areas: verbal and non-verbal ones. Same are the areas to show politeness towards others. Let’s examine them more closely:

1. Non-verbal politeness. The principles of the non-verbal communication are older by their origin and are implicit in the human behavior. It means that we control less of what we show than what we say. You can show politeness or impoliteness by following means:

  • Look. Whether you look directly or cover your eyes and glance backwards, hold your eyes open or screw them up suspiciously, look with warmth or cold – it all matters a lot;
  • Mimic. You can smile or frown, while you are saying “Yes, I’m quite animated!” your corners of the mouth are lowered and your smile seems artificial, you can wrinkle your forehead or hold a poker face – all that tells a lot of what you feel at the moment, and this is not always a pleasant information;
  • Position and gesture. It may strike you that your interlocutor is trying to get too close / too far from you, that his or her gestures are too passionate or too scarce, or showing suspicion or openness;
  • Following cultural traditions. Depending on the specific features of the definite culture, the politeness has undertaken its own individual forms within it. Sometimes these forms are entirely opposite to what is accustomed in other cultures. For example, in the Western culture it is still considered as politeness if a man frees his seat to let a woman sit in it, or he holds the door and let a woman come into the room first. In Muslim culture such behavior is considered absolutely inappropriate – a man always comes first into the room and never lets his seat to a woman. That is why it is sometimes difficult for the non-native English speakers to master the rules of politeness in the British culture. It concerns the verbal politeness as well. Here, however, foreigners have a good support represented by the dedicated linguistic services. If your essay lacks politeness, a simple revision would turn it into a well-composed and impeccable text. Learn what advantages you will get by ordering the revision on our website, in one of the useful articles in our blog

2. Verbal politeness. The verbal sphere is governed by the second signal system that is a superstructure formed as a result of the social interaction. Politeness is a secondary factor in the interpersonal communication. It means that it was not originally inherent with the human society. It appeared in response to the need to select the partners by agreeing or disagreeing their way of interaction – and themselves as persons, too. Being polite wasn’t a solution to the surviving; however, it helped to set the friendly and trustful relationship, which became important when human’s primary needs had been satisfied. It has become a marker of the successful social interaction, and also of the people participating in it.

We can control it better than the non-verbal sphere, and here we have much more ways to display politeness:

  • Talking the same language that the interlocutor. If the social status, age, education, style of talking differ, getting close to the other’s style will serve as the expression of politeness: Will you pass the salt, my dear? – Here you are, grandpa. (Instead of, “Yep, here, graybeard”).
  • Not ordering, but asking. The direct order is always taken for aggression, unless the situation or tradition prescribes is (the order from father to the son, or from the boss to the employee). Restating your order with the question or just adding the polite words can radically change the impression: Hand me your passport. Hand me your passport, please. – May I have a look at your passport, sir?
  • Using polite words and polite address. Even if you’re not a native speaker, adding please or thank you will help to dispose the other person towards you. Adding the appropriate address (Sir, Madam, Dear Ladies and Gentlemen) serves to show the status of the interlocutor is high in your eyes;

The formal texts imply a certain level of politeness towards the reader. The very purpose of such a text, the stable constructions already implying an allowance of politeness, erasing of the first person as impersonalizing serves the goal to please the reader and show its higher position by default towards the author. When writing a dissertation, you will most likely prefer the construction “The results of the experiment showed the strong correlation between the dominant gene and the ornament of petals’ edge of pelargonium” to more personal and affirming “I received the results of my experiment and drew a conclusion that the strong correlation exists between the dominant gene and the ornament of petals’ edge of pelargonium”. Should you need any assistance with your college, university, or even postgraduate school paper, applying to efficient academic editing services will enable you to reach the desired level of politeness in your paper, without decreasing your personality’ manifestation and its significance in the work done. 

  • Avoiding the cultural taboo topics. In some cultures the question “How is your wife?” is considered intimate and rude, while “How much do you earn?” is quite appropriate. It is otherwise in the British culture, though. In France, no one would scorn you if you talked about the intimate life and sex, but would consider you uncouth if you asked whether your interlocutor was married or had kids;
  • Avoiding invectives. Swearing may be accustomed in some circles however, it never can serve as the expression of politeness. Clear your speech of “Shoot”, “What the heck” and “Darn it” if you wish to be polite to others.  

We see that politeness has many ways of its manifestation, that can be grouped into non-verbal (look, mimic, position, culture acts) and verbal (questions, polite words and phrases, appropriateness, talking in the key of the interlocutor) ones. The disagreement between these two aspects of the human behavior can be considered impolite, or even a sign of a cheater. Meanwhile if the non-verbal behavior corresponds with what we hear, we subconsciously presume this person is honest with us, which can sometimes compensate even his or her impolite passages like swearing or direct staring.

While we do not have much means to control our non-verbal behavior, the humanity have mastered the art of talking with the language quite better throughout the centuries. Let us see what verbal constructions can help us being polite to others.

Types of verbal polite constructions

The intention of being polite can be implemented in different ways in the verbal speech. These ways depend on a number of criteria, each defining a significant aspect of the situation where verbal politeness is displayed.

1. Situation. We show politeness when we are going to:

  • request something. Am I permitted to enter? Could you tell me where the shopping mall is?
  • address someone. Dear Madam; Good morning, Mr. Arnolds!  
  • indicate misunderstanding. Sorry? Would you repeat the last sentence, please?
  • disagreeing. I’m not quite sure if that’s a good idea. Wouldn’t it be better not to order at this restaurant?

supporting the conversation. We use phrases that show our active listening of the interlocutor: Amazing! Really? I see what you’re saying. ​

2. Level. The English language has formed throughout its history as a language of gracefulness and politeness. This peculiar property is still preserved in its levels of politeness. We can make a phrase polite or highly polite, depending on the situation,  our interlocutor and the relationship between us:

  • politeness level. This level is considered as accustomed politeness and is used in regular situations. It is what we hear every day: Can I take your seat for a while, please? – Sorry, I am not able to let it now. Would you mind sitting next to me? I’ll just empty this seat. – Thank you. – You’re welcome.
  • High politeness level. On this level, special words and constructions are used to emphasize the importance and formal style of the situation, and the high respect to the interlocutor: Is this your seat, Sir? May I occupy it for a while? – I beg your pardon; however it does not seem possible at the moment. Would you enjoy my company if you sat next to me? I’ll free this seat immediately. – Much appreciate this favor. – Oh, don’t mention it!

These construction are not frequent in the oral speech and is almost absent in the colloquial language. If applied there, it serves the opposite purpose – mocking at someone or decreasing his or her significance in the present communication:

If I am permitted so defiantly interrupt your conversation, I’d like to lodge my insignificant yet categorical request: “Go to bed immediately!”

Thus striving to be polite be sure avoiding crossing the edge for being overly polite and ensuring your phrase is relevant to the context. If you need to outsource this part of the text editing for your academic paper, check our dedicated website for the tips of where to find experienced and fair dissertation editors.

3. Grammar and syntax constructions. We use these constructions to show our friendly attitude and respect towards other people. They serve to modify the meaning so the direct questions, imperatives, statements would lose their offensive connotations being into indirect ones. A variety of grammar and syntactic constructions perform this task:

  • modal verbs. They serve to mollify the order: Show me that coat, please. – Would you show me that coat, please?
  • passive voice. Used when some negative sense is implied, in order to relieve the guilty party at least a bit: She cooked those pancakes dreadfully. – The pancakes could have been better if more flour would be added.
  • using past tense. In English, just using the Past tense instead of the Present or Future, may make you sounding much more polite than before: I think this sushi is not made of an eel. I thought this sushi could be made of something else than an eel.
  • using qualifiers. These construction work in the same way that the modal verbs – serving to release the tension and making the sentence less direct: You’ve got home late that afternoon. – You’ve got home rather late that afternoon. – You’ve got home a bit late that afternoon.
  • using names when addressing someone. The psychology tells us the person’s name is one of the most pleasant sounds for the person’s ear. Use it when you want to be polite, but don’t go too excessive: Will you repair this water pipe for me? – Will you repair this water pipe for me, Jacob? – and wrong Jacob, will you repair the water pipe? It is for me, Jacob. Thank you in advance, Jacob. Getting to extreme with any element makes others suspect you are using manipulative techniques with them or that you just cannot control your speech.
  • using vague language. This is particularly British way to be polite. Respecting the time of other people and the possibility of them being delayed, the English speakers can use the vague modifiers when talking about time or quality: The eastern train will arrive at 7 a.m. It is painted yellow. – The eastern train is arriving about 7 a.m. Its color reminds of yellow.
  • using questions. Instead of requesting or stating something, turn it into the question. It works well with:
  1. negative questions: I dislike their music. – Shouldn’t we listen to other performers, too?
  2. Clarifying questions: I heard your essay wasn’t estimated high? – Were you in a hurry when writing your essay? Why wasn’t it estimated high?
  3. Two steps questions: Can I take my son’s ball from your garden? – Is it your garden? Could I take my son’s ball that got into it?     
  1. Correctness of the text. The correct use of grammar and punctuation can serve as a separate way of being polite. When you write a grammatical and correct text, with the punctuation placed rightly, you ensure its good readability and comprehensiveness. It is the way to express your respect for the reader and his or her time, spent only for the text itself, not the efforts to reconstruct your ideas rightly. Thus, a high importance of the grammar and punctuation rules, as well as of proper style of your writing must be maintained as a credo if you are going to be polite in your texts. Such rules, thus, construct a separate verbal polite construction.

The English language that for long served as the model of the language etiquette, has numerous forms of politeness that pertain to the different language levels. Such variety allows for the multiple improvisations, sense-concealing constructions, as well as phrases with the false bottom. For example, the following sentence seems polite from the formal point of view but can be taken as offensive, in its deep meaning:

Would you mind leaving this last hamburger on the dish? Might not other people make use of it?

Thus, it is always a tricky path to tread, when you try to play with English words and constructions. Unless you are a native speaker, try not to get too far into the wood with the polite constructions. However always using only direct statements isn’t welcome, either. Hold somewhere in the middle between these two edges. While picking the words for your next construction make sure you have a proper support for your written assignments and other academic papers. Our blog is open for perusal with the useful articles on the way of editing and tips how to edit your paper:

  1. Have The Revision Of Paper With Us
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  3. The Best Thesis Rewriter For You
  4. We Render Proofreading Website Service
  5. Article Rewriting Service. Why Do We Need It?

How to introduce polite constructions into the speech

Now that we know what constructions are considered polite and how tricky they can be, let us work out the task of implementing them into the speech. Below you will find simple yet efficient recommendations how to introduce politeness into your speech:

  • Be simple. Do not try to go at once with the difficult constructions of the high politeness level or sense concealing rephrases. Instead of venturing Do I have any chance to be served? Might I bother you with just a glass of water? ask simply “Can I have a glass of water, please?”. It is a good thing to be polite in all of your papers. However, in certain cases you’ll need to be polite more as usual. It mostly happens when you need to ask for a favor or place a request important for you. However it is also important to be sincere, not to be “too polite”, as it may look as hypocrisy and cheating. Do not say, “As your humble servant, I would dare to approach you with my superficial request”. Instead write “I’d be grateful if you could examine my request.” If you feel unsure as to the level of politeness in your English paper, it may be reasonable to apply for proofreading and editing services UK for assistance. You’ll see your paper will become much more elegant and concise one.  
  • Be concise. While lofty English looks really elegant especially when used by the native speakers, the reality is such that it isn’t used anymore in the regular conversation. Nowadays sparing people’s time is one of the ways to express politeness. So instead of mumbling “Won’t I bother you, Sir, if I asked for a favor to pass the ticket to your humble servant” just relay your request briefly and without rudeness (a touch of politeness, though, would benefit your sentence): “Could you pass me the ticker, please?”.
  • Use polite words in the appropriate situations. The simple polite words, such as Thank you, Please, Sir and so on can make a task much easier for you. Just add them where appropriate: Sir, Mr., Mrs., Ladies when addressing someone, Thank you, Much obliged when thanking, Please, You’re welcome when answering the gratitude.
  • Avoid direct statements, questions and imperatives. Sure, it doesn’t mean you should completely forget about them. Sometimes using the direct construction is more appropriate than more polite analogues. For example, if the firefighter is asking an already rescued resident of the burning building: “Is anyone in there?” and the other replies, “No one”. However, if you wish to train your polite speech, get to rephrasing your direct sentences into the indirect ones: Would you mind telling has anyone been left inside the building on your left? – I’m afraid, I’m not quite sure; however, it seems that no one was staying there.
  • Replace the focus onto other objects. Sometimes being polite means just looking at the situation under another angle. Train to change the focus of the sentence to other aspects of the situation or even to the different situations: Your train is going too slowly. I am going to claim my money back when we arrive at the rail station. Isn’t it a beautiful landscape behind the window? How lucky we’ve got enough time to remember it!

If you still have doubts as to the appropriateness of certain constructions or the way to build and use them in your essay, our expert linguistic services are open to contact 24 hours a day. Lodge a request of any length of text and any task, e.g. ‘Is it polite to say so, “Can I engage your frustrating ideas in my essay?”’. Our editor will correct can to could, and frustrating to fascinating, and will give your further advice, if needed. Learn more about the framework of our top-rated editing services by perusing our articles, e.g.

  • Watch the reaction. Remember that you train your polite conversation skills in order to be polite to other people, not just for your excellence in English. Always watch people’s reaction for your words and detect surprise, offense, disliking, frowning. These signs will show you your phrases are incorrect or inappropriate. Remind yourself to verify them once you get to your laptop or your vocabulary.

While training your polite language, don’t forget the form is also very important. Ensure your speech and texts are grammatical and relay the sense you want them to. You are always welcome to use our blog as assistance in the English grammar issue and the ways to edit your papers:  

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  3. How To Use The Adverbs In Your Speech
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Based on the current post, what image would you draw of the “polite person”? What properties would be dominant? Which ones would be absent? Share your ideas, as usual, by filling in the contact form on our website!