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  • Hi Sian here for BBC Learning English... in this Masterclass we're going to look at something

  • British people love doing! Being polite.

  • No, I'm not coming to your party this evening. Wow, this food is disgusting! Give me some

  • of your lunch. Now sometimes it's ok to be direct - or even blunt with your friends...

  • but it's important not to sound rude, particularly in the workplace. We're gonna look at 4

  • ways you can soften your language to make you more polite...

  • OK, listen to these two requests. Which one

  • sounds more polite and less direct, and why?

  • Number 1: 'Pick me up on your way to the party this evening!'

  • Or number 2: 'I was hoping you could give me a lift to the party.'

  • Now, number 2 is much more polite. We soften requests, and suggestions and questions by

  • using past forms, continuous forms or both. For example, 'I was wondering if you could

  • give me a lift later.' We can also make requests softer by using

  • a negative question with a question tag. So, 'You couldn't give me a lift later, could

  • you?' or 'I don't suppose you could pick me up tonight, could you?'

  • OK, listen to these two opinions. Which do

  • you think sounds less direct and more polite?

  • Number 1: 'You're too young to get married!' Or number 2: 'I reckon you're a little young

  • to be getting married!'

  • Yeah, the second one is much less direct. It's softer. We use verbs like reckon, guess,

  • feel to make your opinions less direct. You can also use vague expressions like 'sort

  • of', 'kind of', 'a little bit'. It also helps if you make it into a question: 'Aren't you

  • kind of young to be getting married?'

  • OK now listen to these two problems. Which

  • one sounds less direct?

  • The first one: 'You've made a mistake in this report!'

  • Or the second one: 'You seem to have made a mistake here.'

  • Yes, the second one was softer, less direct. We introduce problems with verbs like seem

  • and appear to soften them. So, 'You appear to have saved over all my documents'. You

  • could also use these to introduce your own problems. So, 'I seem to have lost those reports you wanted'.

  • Now listen to these two ways of refusing an

  • invitation. Which one sounds less direct?

  • Number 1? 'No, I'm not coming to your party this evening.'

  • or number 2? 'I'm not sure I'll be able to make it to your party this evening.'

  • OK, again the second one was much softer, less direct. We find it really hard to say

  • no! So instead we use tentative language to soften it. So, 'I'm not sure I'll make it

  • to your party.' Or 'It's looking unlikely I'll be able to come this evening.' This basically

  • means 'I'm not coming!'

  • Now to find out more about avoiding being too direct, and to practise not being rude,

  • I was hoping you would check out our website bbclearningenglish.com. See you soon, goodbye!

Hi Sian here for BBC Learning English... in this Masterclass we're going to look at something

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A2 UK direct soften polite softer evening party

BBC Masterclass: Be polite - how to soften your English

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    pipus posted on 2017/03/16
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