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  • Hi everyone, I'm Susie, I'm British

  • Today I'm going to talk about five

  • surprising things that sound rude in English.

  • This is from my experience, as well as my

  • understanding of Chinese, because some of

  • these are direct translations from Chinese.

  • These things are more of a subtle

  • difference in tone, but they do make a difference

  • to how you come across in writing or in speaking.

  • So the first thing that I've noticed is 'wait'.

  • I know that in Chinese, it's very common to say

  • (Chinese)

  • And it's quite polite to say, "Just hang on a second".

  • But if you tell someone to 'wait' in English

  • it does sound a bit impolite.

  • A better translation I think is 'hang on a second'

  • or 'could you give me a moment?'

  • or 'please, can you wait a second?'

  • So this 'wait', I hear quite a lot

  • but does come across as slightly rude

  • so be careful of that one.

  • This leads me onto my second point

  • which is that imperatives in general

  • do come across as a little bit rude in English.

  • Maybe tell me what time we should meet

  • 'cause you want the other person to tell you.

  • So you say, "Tell me when we should meet."

  • Check something, do something, see this, watch this.

  • Any imperatives where you're just telling someone

  • to do something do come across as quite rude.

  • So a better way to phrase it is gonna be

  • to turn it into a question.

  • Please, could you let me know what time we're meeting?

  • For example, or please, could you have a look at this?

  • Or please, could you check something?

  • I know that in Chinese, it's very common to say

  • 'qing' at the beginning

  • and then just the imperative afterwards,

  • like (Chinese)

  • but it is more common in English

  • to actually turn the whole thing into a question.

  • The next thing I wanted to mention is the word 'already'.

  • So I think in Chinese, it's common to say

  • (Chinese)

  • Like to express that something is finished.

  • It's happened, it's done.

  • People might say, "I already saw it."

  • So whilst in English

  • it also means that something is finished.

  • There's a bit more emphasis on it's already been done.

  • So if you say, "I've already done it."

  • It can sound a bit defensive.

  • Like, "I've already done it."

  • Like the emphasis is on, it's finished, it's done.

  • Like, "I've already done it, I've already seen it."

  • Like, "Why are you asking me?

  • I've already seen it."

  • Which I think is not what people mean to say

  • but I've just noticed this slight tone,

  • difference in tone.

  • The next point I wanted to mention

  • is to do with the phrase 'excuse me'.

  • Now, 'excuse me', is probably a strange one

  • 'cause you're thinking 'excuse me' sounds very polite.

  • Maybe even more polite than sorry

  • which it is when used in the right context.

  • The times that I most frequently hear 'excuse me' used

  • is maybe on the street when there's a stranger

  • who wants to ask me something, they'll say 'excuse me'

  • And it's a very polite way to just open conversation

  • and ask for something, for some help maybe.

  • Another way that I hear this phrase used

  • is on the street when someone is annoyed with you.

  • So let's say that you're standing in the way

  • or you've done something to bother someone

  • they might say, "Excuse me."

  • And there's a tone of annoyance there.

  • And I'll talk a bit more in detail

  • about how to tell if a British person is annoyed

  • or angry in a later video.

  • They're using this phrase 'excuse me'

  • to express their irritation with you.

  • And the other time that you might hear

  • the phrase 'excuse me' used is perhaps in a big lecture

  • where there's many people

  • and you want to ask a question

  • and again, there's more distance between the speakers.

  • Okay, so bearing those three contexts in mind

  • if you are one-to-one with someone

  • and you want to say, "Oh, let's look at this."

  • If you say 'excuse me' it can sound a bit jarring

  • because it suddenly sounds like there's more distance

  • between you, maybe sounds a bit more formal

  • or maybe like you could be annoyed

  • or irritated about something.

  • So I wouldn't use the phrase 'excuse me'

  • in a one-to-one situation.

  • I would say something like, "Oh, sorry

  • can we just take a quick look at that?"

  • So notice again how I've changed it into a question.

  • Can we just take a look at this?

  • And it doesn't mean that you're actually

  • asking for permission, you're letting the person know

  • please, look here.

  • Okay, the next aspect is 'I want'.

  • We're often taught as children not to say

  • 'I want' like this, it should be 'I would like'.

  • You know, some parents have phrases like,

  • 'I want doesn't get'.

  • It should be 'I would like it' or 'please can I have it?'

  • So don't say 'I want', say 'I would like'.

  • So those are some sort of subtle aspects I've noticed.

  • And then I just wanted to mention quickly

  • about hedging and how to use it.

  • If you want to say 'this way is better'...

  • 'I think this way might be better'

  • So you're adding a sense of uncertainty

  • which makes you sound more polite.

  • Another example is 'I don't know why',

  • can become 'I'm not quite sure why'.

  • Another one, 'this was wrong'.

  • 'I think there was something that

  • might not have been quite right here.

  • Could you take another look at...?'

  • So then you're offering further suggestions.

  • Okay, so you can see all of this flowery language

  • that's added in to make the speaker sound less harsh,

  • less direct and therefore more polite.

  • From these examples you can see

  • how convoluted the British way of speaking is

  • I know many Chinese speakers find

  • English emails confusing.

  • In the future, I'll talk about that

  • in more detail, but the topic of the next

  • video is discussing a stereotype against

  • East Asian people. I hope you like it.

  • Thank you for watching, I'm Susie, see you soon!

Hi everyone, I'm Susie, I'm British

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A2 UK excuse chinese polite phrase rude sound

【如何更有禮貌的說英文】''Excuse me''的正確用法/別再說''I want''!

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    Yuan Huansheng posted on 2022/04/05
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