How to be polite? 英語如何禮貌

英語的禮貌用語是口說的基本需知,尤其對出國留學或旅行的讀者們來說。本文蒐集基本的禮貌用語範例,以及如何禮貌地拒絕,並且避免錯誤地使用 Sorry 這個常常被誤用的字。

影片中詳述了 Could you open the window? 顯的禮貌的原因。並提到一句超複雜的問句 I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind opening the window if it’s not too much trouble.


基本概念

未來進行式問句做為禮貌用語是 EFL 最不熟悉的講法,用於正式且禮貌地「尋問計畫」(一般可以用 be going to 問對方的「打算」)。Would 與 Could 是最常見的禮貌尋問用語,前者尋問「會嗎?」,而後者問「能嗎?」。兩者可通用,然而 could 語氣更近於「拜托」,也因此,在正試場合較少使用 could you。而 would 則比較萬用,甚至可以用於「生氣」的講法。Ref. 例如

A: Are you going to come to the party tonight? (打算,口語較為隨便的問法,be going to = gonna)
B: Yes. Will you be having extra seats for my friends?(未來進行式問句,相當正式地詢問他人的計畫)
A: Would you mind giving me the names? (注意,這邊可以看出有些時候使用 could 語意會錯掉)
B: Would it be possible to bring four of my friends with me?(更間接的禮貌問法,一樣不適用於 could 的語氣)
A: Could you limit it to three people?(這邊也可以用 would。然而,因講者要B修改他原本的想法,所以語意上有「能嗎?」的意味,此時使用 could 這個帶有「拜托」的語氣更適合)
B: Would you PLEASE ask your boss?(為了解釋 would 的特殊用法,這邊硬插一個不合情境的生氣語句。please 大寫表示語調拉高,聲音變大,才能變成抱怨的語氣)

I was hoping/wondering if you could give me a lift to the party. 過去式 + could = polite ask
You couldn’t give me a lift, could you? 否定/附加問句 = more polite ask
I don’t suppose you could pick me up, could you? 否定/附加問句 + suppose = even more polite ask

I reckon/guess/feel you are too young to get married. 認知語 = indirect opinion
It seems/appears you have made a mistake here. 認知語 = indirect opinion
Aren’t you a little/kind/sort of too young to get married? 疑問 + a little/kind/sort of = indirect opinion

If you don’t mind, would you do me a favor and put the dishes in the dishwasher?
If it’s not a problem, could I call you back in ten minutes?
When you have a moment/second, could you email me the documents?
I’d appreciate it, if you would have it done this afternoon. 注意!此為上對下的禮貌講法。

When/If you get a chance

If you get a chance, could you water our plants? = 假如有機會的話,能幫忙交水嗎?這個 if 暗指機會不一定會有,所以如果答應的話,還是不一定要做。
When you get a chance, would you water our plants? = 有機會時,你會幫忙澆水嗎?這個 when 暗指機會一定會有(可能是在交待某個員工的情境下),所以要求更直接,也因此不使用 could 這麼低聲下氣的字。Ref.
By any chance, could you give me a ride home from work today? = 如果有機會的話。這個講法是最拜托人的。

Polite Suggestion

What if we reschedule for another day because it’s raining today. = 假如…怎麼樣?
How about (if) we go out and eat instead. = …如何?本用法可不加 if,但加了之後更禮貌,因為 if 帶有不確定的語氣。
What do you think about rescheduling our golf game. = 你認為…如何?此為最中心的建議語氣。
You should probably check the oven. 不使用 check out,因為 check out 是指去體驗看看。

Offer Help

Would you like me to open the window? + No, thank you. I can manage.
Shall I shut the door?(特別禮貌的講法)+ Thank you very much. That’s very kind of you.
I’ll / Let me get the door for you.(非正式,get the door = 開門)+ I’m fine, thanks.

Would you mind opening the door? If it’s OK with you, could we open the door? When you have a minute, could you send me that file? Why don’t we take a break?

禮貌語大全,語速較慢,建議利用鍵盤左右鍵快速復習。

停止說抱歉 Stop Apologizing

不止是國人,native speaker 也常常在不洽當的時機 say sorry,導致個人形像顯得缺乏自信。正確的使用時機是只在「傷害了他人」這種較為嚴重的狀況下使用 sorry。取而代之,在相當輕微的犯錯狀況,應利用 whoops, my bad, sorry about that. 在社交意外的狀況下(出糗、離開、打斷對話或者行為),可利用 excuse / pardon me。注意,當語氣不同時,excuse / pardon 會變成質問的語氣。 此外,比 sorry 更嚴重的道歉,可以使用 I want to apologize for / My apologies / Please forgive me. / I want to make amends / I didn’t mean to offend you.

Sorry 可以表達「遺憾」。例如 I’m sorry to hear about that / for your loss. 有時要講相當傷人的話之前會先道歉一下。例如 Please forgive me / I don’t want to offend you, but you are totally wrong.

No apology: Thank you for your patience VS I’m sorry to be late.
Do you mind if I ask you a question speaker to speaker?

勇敢&禮貌地「拒絕」

筆者認為,拒絕他人要求的幫忙是重要的處世技巧。總是幫忙的人,如果突然不幫了,反而會被責怪。反之,總是拒絕的人可以積聚資源,在關鍵的時候一出手,受益者才會知道感恩。以下蒐集各種不同的拒絕想法與英語講法,供讀者參考。

開頭弱化:Unfortunately / I’m afraid / Sorry, but + I’m not able to do that / that’s not possible / I don’t think that’s a good idea / I can’t make it (to the meeting) 表達到不了時,可使用 Can’t make it to 地點。
懷疑弱化:I’m not sure / It’s looking unlikely / It’s unlikely / I doubt if I’ll be able to make it to your party tonight.
建議:Let’s try next week / I’ve got another idea

WORDS = Welcome, Object, Reveal, Debrief, Seal.

Welcome: I really like your idea / I wish I could / I’d really like to help /
Object: but it’s not practical / it will not be possible today.
Reveal: I’m working on something important right now. / I have a very packed schedule / I’m not very fond of /
Debrief: Will it help if I share some old reports with you.
Seal: Thanks for asking/ thinking of me / I’ll be so disappointed to miss this.

I just can’t do this right now. My plate is overloaded / I got too much on my plate.
Confirming the inconsistency without apology: I know you were hoping we’d…, That is not going to work for me, so I need to say No.
Postpone: Let me check my schedule, and I’ll get back to you. It looks like a great opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. How about if I let you know by tomorrow afternoon? I’m free later today.
Pleasant No: I really appreciate your offer to help, but I’m going to say No, thanks.

Step 1, Inform: Thank you for this opportunity. However, I regret / hate (遣憾) to inform that I’m declining this.
Step 2, Complement: The team is incredible…, While the company’s value and mission really resonated,
Step 3, Reason: I did received another offer I accepted because it aligned closer with my personal career goal.

Saying no without reasons is a good habit. First, it saves time for the potential fluff about the following persuasion–unless you are not sure if you need that discussion. Second, if you cannot fully commit to your words, just say No and help others as well as your credit. Third, offer alternatives if possible.

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