A2 Basic UK 1600 Folder Collection
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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!
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BBC Masterclass: Be polite - how to soften your English

1600 Folder Collection
pipus published on March 16, 2017
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