Are you Polite enough?admin2019-04-04T20:49:51+00:00
SURPRISING FACTS ABOUT SPEAKING POLITELY IN CANADA
Speaking Politely Quiz
Check your answers by watching the video or reading the article below.
1. Easy Question:
Using ‘please’, ‘sorry’ and ‘thank you’ is enough to sound polite in Canada.
a) True b) False
2. Easy Question:
‘Come in please’ is a polite sentence by Canadian standards.
a) True b) False
3. More Difficult:
‘Could you give me a copy?’ is…
a) a question b) a polite request
4. More Difficult:
Who needs to speak politely?
a) everybody b) children c) people in customer service jobs d) customers and clients
What is a better way to get somebody to help you?
a) Help me please. b) Could you help me? c) Excuse me, could you help me please?
In the sentence ‘I’m afraid we are all sold out.’ the words ‘I’m afraid‘ means…
a) I’m scared b) I’m sorry c) Excuse me
Check your answers below.
Speaking Politely in Canada
Most immigrants believe that if they use the words ‘please’, ‘sorry’ and ‘thank you’, that means they are polite. That is not exactly so. While most Canadians use these words in almost every sentence, they also use several other ways to sound polite: modal verbs, use of questions instead of imperative forms, avoidance of negative words, use of warning words, etc.
Avoid Imperative Forms
Immigrants need to be very careful with imperative forms. Imperative form of the verb is not a request – it’s an order! It sounds very rude. For example:
“Give me a copy.” (imperative form –> order)
“Could you give me a copy?” (modal verb ‘could’ makes a polite request)
Immigrants sometimes think that if they add the word ‘please’ (“Give me one copy, please.”) it makes the sentence polite. It doesn’t. It’s still an order.
“Come here.” “Sit down.” “Take one.” “Wait here.” are all orders.
“Come here please.” “Sit down please.” “Take one please.” “Wait here please.” are all orders.
Use Modal Verbs
“Could you come here?” “Would you like to sit down?” “Would you like to take one? “Would you mind waiting here?” are polite requests.
It’s very easy to speak politely. You only need to learn these two verbs ‘could’ and ‘would’.
Avoid Negative Words
Instead of saying ‘He is stupid’ many Canadians would say ‘He is not exactly smart.’ Instead of saying ‘You’re wrong.’ they will say ‘It’s not right.’
‘Actually’, ‘Unfortunately’, ‘I’m afraid that’ are the so called warning words. Many Canadians, when they need to correct somebody and tell an unpleasant news, will use these words. For example:
A: Is your son in high school?
B: Actually, he is in elementary school.
Who needs to speak politely
70% of all jobs in Canada are customer service. If you have a customer service job, you need to speak politely. If you don’t want to lose your job, you need to speak politely to your customers and clients.
On the other hand, when youare the customer or the client, it’s your choice: you can choose to speak politely or you can choose to be rude. You are the person with the money in your hand. So, if you go to a store and you say: “Give me that box” , the salesperson will give you that box. Because you are paying for it.
Which jobs are customer service jobs in Canada?
Nurse, bank teller, salesperson, language school teacher, cashier, receptionist and many more. Immigrants are often surprised that a nurse in Canada needs to be nice and polite. Or a mechanic who is fixing a car needs to talk politely to the customer.
No business wants to lose customers. When you go to the bank, if people who are working there are not nice and polite, you can change the bank and transfer your money to a different one. The bank wants your money – that’s why they are so nice and polite talking to you. It’s the same in every company, big or small.
Why speak politely? – 3 situations
If you have a customer service job, speaking politely is the way to keep your job. If you are not nice with the customers and the company is losing business because of you, they can easily fire you.
If you are the customer/client, being polite is your choice. As long as you are paying the money, the company will serve you.
If you NEED something – a favour, someone’s help, etc. Asking politely will usually give you a better result! If you ask politely, more people will try to help you.
How to speak in different situations (standard phrases)
At a coffee shop: “Hi, can I get a medium coffee, one cream, two sugars?”
At a bank: “Hi, I’d like to withdraw some cash / deposit a cheque / pay my credit card bill.”
Calling doctors’ office (or any other place to make an appointment): “Hi, I’d like to make an appointment.”
At a grocery store: ” Excuse me, where can I find sugar?”
At the library: “Hi, I’m looking for a book…”
Asking for help (anywhere): “Excuse me, could you help me please? I need…”
Inviting someone: “Would you like to join us for a party?”
Talking to a guest in your house (offering): “Would you like something to drink? Tea or coffee? Would you like to have some cake?”
Asking for information: “Do you know where the nearest supermarket is?” “Do you have any idea where I can buy staples?”
Asking to do something: “Would you mind opening the window?” (or: “Would you mind if I open the window?”) “Could you please close the door?”
Giving a choice: “Would you prefer fish or chicken for dinner tonight?”
At a restaurant: “Can we get the bill please?”
Leaving early: “I’m sorry, I have to go now. I have to…”
Asking your manager for a day off: “Would it be possible to take Friday off? I have a doctor’s appointment.”