How to speak to a person in English so that it does not hurt excruciatingly

The issue of correctness in English-speaking countries is always complicated. Because there are a lot of unwritten rules when you need to apply formally, and when you can allow yourself a little liberties in communication.

But the line between “sir” and “dude” is pretty blurry. Today we will try to figure out which appeal should be used in specific situations, so as not to cause negativity in our address. Go.

5 tips to help you choose a case

To summarize, in the English language there are formal, informal addresses and their individual gradations.

It is clear that you need to keep yourself formally with your business partner, and you can say hello to your childhood friend “Hey, dude”. These common truths are the same in any country.

Let’s focus on the nuances right away.

Tip 1. Not sure – contact formally

Many English people are pretty prim about the way they are addressed. In the United States, mores are simpler, where many immediately suggest switching to an informal style of communication.

For example, you have joined a new team of specialists. How to contact a team lead? And if he is your age?

If in doubt, it is best to apply formally. There will be no harm from this.

If a person prefers an informal style of communication, then after the first address “Sir” or “Mr” he will say:

Call me Daniel. – Call me Daniel.
You can call me Dan. – You can call me Dan.

But even in such phrases there are gradations of formality. “Call me Daniel” is usually the full name here. That is, without unnecessary formalities, but also without familiarity. And if “You can call me Dan”, then it’s more simple, without subordination.

If there are no such phrases, then the person clearly prefers that you address him formally. And this is also a common option – not everyone likes an informal relationship.

Tip 2. Use the words Mr and Ms when referring to your last name

In English, the pronouns Mr or Ms are almost mandatory. To go without them is rude.

This is acceptable when the boss addresses the subordinate. This is how the teacher can address the student – the absence of a pronoun emphasizes a subordinate position.

But in any other situation, when addressing by last name, they are required. At a business meeting, most likely, you will not be pointed out to this error, but they will be treated much colder than initially.

Tip 3. Use professional messages

If a person has a title – there are quite a few aristocratic ones now, so we are talking about civilians – feel free to address him that way.

This is a universal formal option. Suitable for both men and women. Such treatment is considered even more honorable than Mr or Ms, because it focuses on the merits of a person.

Professor, doctor, officer – all these are professional appeals and they are relevant in any official cases. You can also call the waiter “Waiter” – and that’s quite normal.

Tip 4. If you are still not sure, you can always ask

Applicable to situations where an informal address would seem to be appropriate, but the interlocutor is in no hurry.

For example, let’s say you meet a new colleague who has joined your department. It will be indecent for him to immediately ask about an informal appeal – he is new here. But it will be perfectly acceptable for you to immediately translate the communication into a more friendly format:

May I call you Nick? – Can I call you Nick?

If the interlocutor agreed, then according to etiquette it is worth continuing:

Than you can call me Dan. “Then you can call me Dan.

This answer is required. Otherwise, you put the other person in an awkward position. After all, he agreed to an informal appeal, but at the same time he does not know if you are allowing to address yourself in a simple way. It turns out some kind of hazing. Don’t do that.

Tip 5. In business correspondence, follow the formalities … at least in the first letter

Initially, formalities should be observed in business correspondence. But now the rules of good form do not prohibit in the second letter to ask about an informal appeal.

Even many big businessmen prefer to communicate without these “sir” and “madam”. For the most part, communication comes down to messengers, in which it is not customary to use calls at all.

Formal and not very formal appeals

There are only six main formal applications. Not all of them are used, but you need to know everything.

  • Sir [sɜːr] – to a grown man of any age.
  • Madam [‘mæd.əm] – to a grown woman.
  • Mr [‘mɪs.tər] – to any man or boy.
  • Mrs [‘mɪsɪz] – to a married woman who uses her husband’s surname.
  • Miss [mɪs] – to an unmarried woman.
  • Ms [miz] – to a woman, without accentuation of marital status.

Sir and Madam are most often used when the first and last name of the person you are addressing is unknown.

Excuse me, sir, how to get to the hospital? – Excuse me, sir, how to get to the hospital?

Or when contacting without using the first or last name. In such a situation, “mister” is acceptable, but “sir” sounds more polite.

As for madam, it is often pronounced “ma’am” [mæm] Is more neutral than full articulation. [ˈmæd.əm] usually tell a woman of age, and [mæm] suitable for any woman.

About Mrs, Ms and Miss – be careful here. The most neutral option is Ms. It is used in both business and everyday conversations. A versatile option that fits anywhere. Miss it is relevant to say only a minor – for girls after 18 it is no longer quite suitable. Mrs is now gradually losing popularity and is rarely used. Unless you came to visit someone and want to turn to a woman as the mistress of the house. Or, for example, when they represent the spouses together – Mr and Mrs Smith. But many women today are against such treatment, so you should not be zealous with it.

There is another option – Mx (Mixter). This is a gender neutral message. It is not very common in conversation yet – unless you know for sure that you are talking to a transgender person. But in correspondence it occurs quite often. They write it when they do not know the gender of the interlocutor or do not want to focus on it, so as not to suddenly make a mistake. Such an appeal, although quite new, is formally acceptable.

There are many informal addresses in English, there are more mountain-a-a-azdo. And their use depends mainly on the gender of both interlocutors.

Here are some options for a man to address a male friend:

dude – dude
man – man
bud – buddy (informal American version)
mate – buddy (commonly used in Britain)
pal – friend (more informal than friend)
bro – brother (from brother)
chap – old fellow, small (British word)
homie – drugan (mostly black American slang, from “homeboy” – countryman)
fella – boy, man (from fellow – friend)

Most are different versions of the word “friend.” There are regional differences. For example, in Ireland, the term “mucker” is popular. And in the American states that are adjacent to Mexico, “amigo” is common.

There are many options. It is best to start from those that are popular in your region or company.

But it is worth adding a remark that all these appeals are normally accepted only from friends. To a colleague, even with whom you communicate normally, you should not say that. In such a situation, it is best to use his name or nickname, if he has one and he is allowed to say so.

For girls, in personal communication, touching forms of communication are more common.

girl – girl
lady – lady
sweetie – sweet
ducky – cutie
bestie – girlfriend

In general, no one forbids them to say “buddy” or “pal” to each other. Therefore, there may be even more options here than for men. It all depends on the degree of closeness of the girls. From “just an acquaintance” to “best friend”. Men usually do not have such a gradation.

We will not even touch upon appeals in family life. There are hundreds of them. The most popular ones are “honey”, “sweetheart”, “dear” or “love”.

Ideally, if you are already familiar with the interlocutor, then just call him by name. But the stronger the friendship, the more relevant these strange messages become. So if you have at least a couple of people that you can call “dude” or “homie” then it’s not that bad.

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