Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

how to avoid sounding rude in English

When we learn a new language, it’s easy to say something rude and not even realize that it sounds rude to native speakers.

Recently we got a message from a listener that sounded rude to us but the listener didn’t even know that it was rude.

Today we will share this message with you so that you can make sure you are not doing the same thing.

We’ll also show you four phrases that you should avoid so that you don’t sound rude without knowing it in English.

Here is the listener’s email:

“Hi my name is ___ from ____.  I would like you to know that my Facebook name is the name that you see in this message ____. I got your trial course now at $1 so I expect to welcomed into the Facebook group now as I have heard in your video.”


What’s rude about this email?

The student used the phrase “I expect to be welcomed.”

The student might not know it but this sounded quite rude.

We don’t use this structure when we make a request in English.


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Four phrases to avoid because they make you sound rude:

  • “You better call me later”: Someone might say, “You better call me later.” This can sound quite rude if it’s not being used in a joking way with a close friend. Instead you could say, “You should give me a call later” or “Please call me later” or “You could give me a call later.”


  • “I need you to fill out this form when you’re done”: This has a connotation of being condescending. There are better ways to ask people to do something for you without being rude. Instead you could say, “If you could fill out this form when you’re done that would be great.”


  • “You must be more careful with your bag in Manhattan”:  This sounds formal and it sounds like you’re ordering someone around. Instead you could say, “You should be careful with your bag in Manhattan.”


Pay attention to relationship and context!

Choosing the right words depends on what situation you are in and who you are talking to.

It also depends on your relationship and level of closeness with the person.

Pay attention to relationship and context. It’s never just about the vocabulary words.


Let us know what questions you have in the comments below.

Thanks for listening to today’s episode!

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