Friday, January 17, 2014

off-topic: The truth behind British politeness

Being a Brazilian living in the UK, I am often surprised at how polite the British people can sound. The point is that I'm still struggling to read their real message between the lines.

The Telegraph have published something that might help: a translation table explaining the truth behind British politeness (ht Flavia Marreiro). Here are some of my favorites:

What the British say What Foreigners understand What the British mean
With the greatest respect He is listening to me  You are an idiot 
That's not bad That's poor  That's good
Quite good Quite good  A bit disappointing
I would suggest Think about the idea, but do what you like  Do it or be prepared to justify yourself
Very interesting They are impressed  That is clearly nonsense 
I almost agree He's not far from agreement  I don't agree at all
I only have a few minor comments He has found a few typos  Please rewrite completely 

And to be honest, we also have the Brazilian way of expressing ourselves: what Brazilians mean when they say

ps. image credit: LLKC at

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