My English Friends offers tips on British politeness

My English Friends offers tips on British politeness

You have to be careful of your manners in different countries, and Britain is no different! What might be considered polite in one country can be considered very rude in others! For instance, it is fine to eat with your fingers in some parts of the world, but here it is usually considered VERY RUDE, except in certain cases, such as eating a chicken leg, or eating ‘finger food’ at a party! Here are some of the more common examples of English manners.



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– Form an orderly queue when, for example, waiting for a bus. It is considered very rude to ‘queue barge’, in other words to push to the front.

– Pay for a ’round’ in the pub: if you are with friends, everyone usually takes a turn to buy a round of drinks for everyone else.

– Say ‘excuse me’ if someone is blocking your way and you can’t get past. Don’t just barge/push past. And sorry is used a lot, even if we haven’t done anything wrong!

– Say please and thank you whenever the occasion arises. It is considered impolite not to say these simple words – you will notice we use them a lot!

– Always cover your mouth if you yawn or cough or sneeze. This is partly so everyone doesn’t see inside your mouth, and partly to avoid spreading germs.

– Open doors for other people, not just men for women. This is a little old-fashioned, but still considered polite.



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– Talk loudly in public, especially on your mobile. It is also becoming very unacceptable to speak loudly on your phone while on a bus or train.

– Stare at people, especially strangers, in public. In many countries it’s fine to stare, but here is it considered very rude.

– Pick your nose in public! I am sure this is considered disgusting in most countries and here it is really NOT ALLOWED!

– Spit in the street, or blow your nose onto the ground. We are very horrified by this and it happens a lot as in some countries it is fine to spit.

– Burp (belch) or fart in public – if possible. If you cannot help yourself, be sure to say ‘Excuse me’.

– Speak with your mouth full of food. This is something every English person is taught as a child.


There are lots of different ‘rules’ of good manners depending on which part of the country you come from, or which class you belong to, but the ones above apply to everyone, so if you follow these simple rules, you won’t attract any negative reactions!

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