Etiquette and good manners

I have a request to all English tutors and learners here. Could you please recommend me a useful internet resource (it would be great if it’s free) or book (I hope it is available in electronic format) about etiquette and good manners? I want to know what is considered polite and what is impolite in English-speaking countries. I have never read any books of this kind in Russian, preferring to learn from people surrounding me, but I realise that some cultural moments may be different between English-speaking and Russian-speaking society. I enjoy my learning English and don’t want to be unintentionally rude with anyone.

Twenty years ago, when I first visited England, I noticed that they were queuing like a “fork” in front of the counter of a post office in London. Such a style of queuing was not common at that time in Japan.

I believe LingQ’s English speaking members is a pretty good surrounding for learning more about etiquette and good manners.

I remember reading “How to be an Alien” by George Mikes. It’s about a Hungarian living in the UK. And I think I picked up a lot from Eslpod’s English Cafe, it tells much about culture and every day life in the US of A.

“How to be an Alien” was hilarious in its time. These days things are not quite as confusing anymore. Just remember if someone in the south of England says “You must drop in for a cup of tea some time!” it most likely means “I enjoyed meeting you, but once is enough. Let’s not meet again.”

Oh, another thing is never ask how much anyone earns and don’t talk about religion or politics as small talk.

In the west of Japan( especially in Kyoto ) when you visit somebody’s house
and stay there for an unexpectedly long time,you might be asked like this
" Would you like a bowl of boiled rice in hot tea?"
It usually means “Please leave here now”.

But it is quite an old habit, and I am not sure wether this phrase is still effective to make uninvited
guests go home immediately.

Thank you, cherry6120! Those old customs are fascinating. I hope I will never give occasion to hear that particular question.

In England there is something similar: you can ask your guest in a certain tone of voice: “Would you like another drink?” or the host might look at his watch and say “Oh, just look at the time!” If all else fails, you can always ask what time your guest has to get up in the morning…

Thank you all! I myself decided that a good way to learn manners is a good personal example. I’ll try to watch more movies in English.

Watching for good manners in English movies ? What the f’kingly fashionable idea :wink: !

To all English tutors and learners here. Urgently needed a list of words betraying bad manners. Every member learning the good manners would be able to import and study the list at LingQ. Colored in yellow, the words will remind us to never ever use them again.

@ Dmitry

Try this website:
Hope it is what you are looking for.

I’ve lived in three English speaking countries and the etiquette differs slightly according to the country. I can see the benefit of generalising sometimes though. In this case it may be appropriate, but it’s a little like grouping all Asian countries together and asking for a guide to culture.

Here are some specific to New Zealand, my home country:

  1. Never sit on tables (This isn’t unusual though.)
  2. People often greet you by simply raising the eyebrows. This is a Polynesian thing. To outsiders it can seem dismissive.
  3. Also, according to Polynesian culture, it’s polite to dip your line of vision when speaking to someone in authority. This is in-line with Japanese culture and others. But that’s not the case for ‘white’ culture in New Zealand, where you can look a bit shifty if you do this.

So, it gets complicated. Even within one small country there can be several different versions of etiquette. I didn’t even know this myself until I had lived in both islands.

@ Arenas

Thank you Ruben! That’s exactly what I need! What a wonderful site!

I have been watching the classic Russian “Sherloc k Holmes and Doctor Watson” series. The two lead actors are pitch perfect - until they meet a person in authority, when they do a Prussian sort of half-bow/head nod thing. It instantly gives away the fact that they are not British. In Britain we shake hands, and smile to important people, maybe even take off our hats, but only if forced to by court etiquette at Buckingham Palace do we make any sort of bow.

It is interesting how natives instantly spot foreigners. Even if the later look like the natives, which is frequent, and keep their mouths shut, which is rare. At least in Israel -:). 10 years ago a massive influx of the immigrants from Russia came to there. Many looked exactly like some natives. Even now, however, I’d usually get a correct idea from the very first glance, whether or not a silent passerby on the Israeli street speaks Russian. Even if she or he does not half-bow. Even if she/he is dressed like everybody else. That is, a common shorts and a t-shirt all over the 8- month summer -:slight_smile:

There’s no such thing in America.