Learn POLITE expressions in English - Don't be RUDE!


Hi again. Welcome back to www.engvid.com. I'm Adam. Today's lesson is a little bit interesting.

I'll give you a little bit of a background first of all. English speakers, and this is

a very cultural part of English... And remember, culture plays a lot... Has a big role when

it comes to language. A lot of speakers, in English, don't want to say certain words.

For some reason, they think this word is dirty or heavy, or they just don't like this word,

so we find soft expressions. We find other ways to say the same thing that everybody

understands, everybody from the culture understands. It may be a little bit difficult for non-native

English speakers to understand these expressions, so today we're going to look at a few. There

are many, many such expressions. We're just going to look at a few for today.

Firstly, these soft expressions are also called euphemisms. You don't need to know this word.

If you want to look up more expressions, type: "euphemisms" into your search box on the internet,

and you'll see many more.

I'm just going to give you a few to give you an example of what a euphemism is. And when

you watch Hollywood movies or TV shows, if you hear these expressions, now hopefully,

you will understand what they mean.

So we're going to start with: "passed away" which is very common. I think many of you

probably know this expression. Or: "did not make it". So if you go to the hospital, your

friend was in a car accident, and you bring him to the hospital or the ambulance brings

him to the hospital, and he's in there for a while, and then you see the doctor. And

you go to the doctor: "How's my friend?" And the doctor says: "Oh, I'm sorry. He didn't

make it." What does that mean? Or: "I'm sorry. He passed away." What does that mean? It means

he died. Now, why people don't like to say the word "died", well, it's a very heavy word.

Death, people don't like to talk about death, so they find other ways to say the same thing.


Now, all of these are not bad things, but you know, we just want to soften the language.

We want to be a bit more polite sometimes. If you want, if you're in the washroom and

you want... Sorry, if you're in the restaurant and you want the washroom, but you don't want

to say the word "washroom" or you don't want to say the word "toilet", you say... If you're

a boy, you say, or a man, you say: "Where's the little boys' room?" If you're a woman:

"Where's the ladies' room?" Now, we understand all this to be toilet. But people think "toilet"

is a dirty word. They don't like to say the word "toilet", so they say: "Little boys'

room", or: "Ladies' room". Okay?

Now, sometimes you'll see people in a wheelchair. Maybe they had an accident, maybe they were

born this way, but they can't walk. They're in a wheelchair. Or you see people who have

a... Who were born with a disease, and they're not, you know, they're not fully functional

like everyone else. We used to say: "handicapped".

But people find this word to be a little bit

offensive, and so it's not politically correct; it's not a nice thing to say. So now, we say:

"They are mentally challenged." Or: "They are physically challenged." It used to be:

"handicapped" or: "disabled". But people don't want to say "disabled" because they think

or they know that these people are very able, they can do many things; they're just limited.

Okay? They are challenged by their condition. So they are mentally challenged or they are

physically challenged is a more polite way to say it.

Okay, so now, we're going to look at the next expressions. If you want to talk about a man

or a woman, and the not polite way to talk about them is to say: "He or she is fat",

big. So, people don't like the word "fat". So, for a more polite way or a softer way

to say "fat" for a woman is: "She is full-figured." Full-figured means she's complete. She's full

in all the places, and that's what we say. A man, we're a little bit less nice to men.

A man has "let himself go". Means he stopped taking care of himself, and became fat. Okay?

Again, not a nice word, but not necessarily a very nice expression either, but it's softer.

It's not as direct, but everybody understands what this means.

Now, if you have a friend or you have a family member and he says that... Or you introduce

him as being "laid off" or "between jobs", this is a more polite, a softer way to say

he is unemployed. It means he doesn't have a job. He's looking for a job. He's being

laid off. "Laid off" is a nicer way to say "fired". He lost his job. So, if somebody's

between jobs, they are unemployed. People don't like to say they are unemployed; everybody

has a certain judgment about that, so they say they're between jobs or they're looking

for something. Same idea.

Now we get into a little bit more fun expressions. So, for example: oh, I have a new iPad. Only

$100. Brand new. And somebody says: -"Oh. How did you get it so cheap?" -"Oh", I said:

"I got it off the back of a truck." or: "It fell off the back of a truck." In British

English, they would say: "lorry". "Lorry" means truck. If somebody tells you they got

something off the back of the truck... Sorry, it's also the back of the truck. It means

it is stolen. So you didn't buy it from the store; you bought it on the street. Somebody

had a truck, you paid them cash, they give you the product. It was stolen somewhere.

You don't care. You have a brand new product for less than half the price.

So, "off the back of the truck", "fell off", it was stolen.

If something... Oh, sorry. Let me make sure we understand that these are here. Now, when...

It used to be a long time ago that when you bought a car, you could buy a brand new car

or you could buy a used car. But then, eventually, people started not to like the word "used".

"Used" means somebody else used it, had it for its good time, and then got rid of it.

So marketing departments got smart, and they started using a different expression to mean

used. "Previously enjoyed". Somebody else enjoyed this thing, now you can enjoy it too.

It's still used. It still has 100,000 kilometers on it, it still has a cigarette hole in the

seat, but it was previously enjoyed. Now it's your turn to enjoy it.

Okay, the next expression we have is, for example, if you see someone in your office,

a co-worker, she comes to work and her stomach is a little bit bigger. Then the next week,

it's a little bit bigger, a little bit bigger, but the rest of her is staying slim. So you

say: "Oh, you know, I think she might have a bun in the oven." A "bun in the oven" means

pregnant. Now, if you're in high school, for example, and one of your classmates, she's

like 16 or 17, and same thing, her stomach's getting bigger, then we say: "You know what?

I think she's knocked up." "Knocked up" also means pregnant, but this is more slang, and

it's a little bit more of a negative idea. Okay? So it's not necessarily softer. It's

saying the same thing, pregnant, but it's a bit of a negative connotation to it. So

be careful about using that one. But just so you know what it means.

Now, again, like I said before, there are many, many, many such expressions in the English

language. Look them up online. And if you want, you can always come and ask me a question

in the comments section at www.engvid.com. You can also come test your knowledge of these

ones with the quiz. Don't forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel,

and come see us again very soon. Bye.