Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles In this English lesson, I'm going to help you learn some questions you should never ask in an English conversation. Maybe never is a strong word. I'll help you learn some questions that are okay to ask in certain situations, but definitely not in other situations. So it's an English lesson, but it's also a bit of a cultural lesson. It's a bit of a lesson so that you know, in what situations it's okay to ask certain questions in English. The first question you should never ask, and this one you probably should never ask is the question: Have you gained weight? As we go through life, we sometimes eat too much and sometimes we put on a few pounds. Sometimes we put on weight. And it's a very personal thing. When you say to someone, "Have you gained weight?" You're rudely commenting on their weight. This is not something we do in Canada or in most of North America. It's just not a common or polite thing to do. So the first question you should never ask, and there's no real situation where I think it is okay to ask the question: Have you gained weight? The only time I think it might be okay is, if a sister was talking to another sister or something like that, two people who have a very close and open relationship, that might be the only time it's okay. But generall,y 99% of the time, it's not okay to ask the question: Have you gained weight? The second question you should never ask in an English conversation: How much money do you make? How much do you get paid? It might surprise you to know this. I have two brothers and two sisters. I have no idea how much money they make at work. We do not ask each other that question. We don't say, "How much do you make at work?" "How much money do you make at work?" We just don't ask it. It's considered impolite and rude. I can guess. I can get a good idea. If my brother wanted to know what I make as a teacher, he can find that information and probably guess and be pretty close to accurate with his guess. But generally, we do not ask that question. We do not ask people how much they make or how much money they get paid at work. It's just a little bit rude. The third question we do not ask is the question: Are you pregnant? Are you expecting? We don't ask this question for a couple of reasons. The first reason is this. If you ask someone, "Are you pregnant?" and they're not pregnant, you're actually commenting on other aspects of their body. You're commenting on how they look. And because they're not expecting, you're actually commenting on their size or weight, which is very, very impolite. The second reason we do not ask is because when people are expecting, it's their news to share. If they want you to know that they are expecting a baby, they will tell you. So a couple of reasons why you shouldn't ask this. The first is if you're wrong, it's really, really rude. The second is it's best to just wait until people share that news with you. The fourth question we don't usually ask is the question: How old are you? Now, we do ask this question sometimes. I'll give you a few examples of when it's okay to ask this question. If you go to a birthday party for a nephew or niece, you might say to them, "How old are you?" and that's totally fine. They'll say, "Oh, I'm four." or "I'm seven." They'll be very happy to tell you how old they are. When you work with people for a long time, or when you're talking to friends that you've known for a long time, you could ask them, "How old are you?" And that would be an okay question because you have a relationship. But if you're talking to a stranger or someone that you've just started working with or someone that you don't know very well, it would be considered not rude but nosy, or you might be considered a little bit like you're prying, would be another word. When you pry you're asking for information about someone that's kind of private. So you can ask this question in some situations, but normally with a stranger or someone you don't know well, when you say, "How old are you?" it's just a little bit rude. Let's say that, it's a little bit rude to ask such a direct question. The fifth question that might be a little bit rude to ask is the question: How much did that cost? How much did you pay for that? This is a question, though, that we do sometimes ask. When I'm talking to my brother, for instance, when I'm talking to someone who I've known for a long time, I might ask him how much he paid for something. That would be okay, especially if it's a small thing. But usually when someone buys something bigger, we don't normally ask how much they paid for it. Even when my sister bought a brand new car, I didn't immediately say, "How much did you pay for it?" In fact, I never actually asked that question at all. I just said, "Wow, that's really nice. Why did you choose the color white?" "Why did you choose that type of vehicle?" We don't usually talk about big expenditures or ask questions about them to find out the actual amount of money that someone spent. So the fifth question, that I guess it's maybe just a little bit rude, you can ask this sometimes, is the question: "How much did that cost?" or "How much did you pay for that?" The sixth question that we don't ask is the question: Why aren't you married yet? Or there's other questions like this too, right? Like, "Why aren't you dating someone?" "When are you going to have kids?" All of the questions about relationships and marriage and starting a family are considered very, very private. I wouldn't ask someone who I know is single, "When are you going to get married?" or "Why aren't you married yet?" Or "When you get marrie,d when are you going to have kids?" Those questions just aren't very polite. It's like I'm asking for information when it's really none of my business. Do you know that English phrase? But here's what I will say, when people you know are planning to get married or planning to have a kid, they will tell you. Again, it will be their news to share with you. So it's considered impolite and rude to ask those questions, but if you're patient and you have a good relationship with the person, eventually, they will tell you about certain little private things about their life because they like you and they trust you. The seventh question we don't ask is the question: Who are you going to vote for? Who did you vote for? Any questions related to elections. For some reason, we do consider this private information. I don't even talk to my brothers and sisters about who I'm going to vote for in the next election. Because maybe I really like one candidate who is running for mayor and maybe my sister likes a different one, and I don't want our difference of opinion to cause us to start arguing and fighting. So when it comes to politics, when it comes to elections, people generally don't ask that question: Who are you going to vote for? Or if it's a couple of days after the election, "Who did you vote for?" It's, once again, just considered a little bit rude and a little bit impolite. Maybe a lot rude and a lot impolite. I'm not really sure on that one. I just don't ever ask those questions. Well, thank you so much for watching this English lesson, which was also kind of a cultural lesson, which was also kind of a lesson on what's rude and what's impolite. I hope that you enjoyed it, and I hope you learned a few more English words and phrases that you can use in your next English conversation. 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