How to be polite in English

When communicating in English, or any language for that matter, it’s important to be polite. Nobody ever wants to be rude or make someone upset, so to make sure you always mind your manners here are a few basic tips and words to remember when speaking politely in English.

Male: ‘Mr.‘ (or ‘Mister’)

This is used when you know the person’s name, but they are older than you and you want to be respectful. Perhaps it’s your girlfriend’s father or your father’s friends. You would say ‘Mister’ and then their last name, so for example: “Mr. Brown”. If you don’t know their name you can say ‘Sir’.

Female: ‘Mrs.’ or ‘Ms.’

‘Mrs.’ – as in “Mrs. Brown” – is only used to address a married woman, and even then it might not be appropriate as nowadays many women choose not to change their title when they get married. Sticking to the more general ‘Ms.’ may be a safer option to use.


When speaking in English we have many ways to say things, but some are more polite and formal than others. For example:

“Good morning/afternoon/ evening”


“Have a nice day”

These are all ways to say ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ in the workplace or a more formal situation.

Minding your manners

Always remember to mind your manners! ‘Please’ and ‘thank you’ go a long way when we speak to each other.

How would you speak to your boss? Your partner’s parents? Your best friend? Your co-workers? Your new doctor? Try your best to speak politely no matter where you are in the world. It’s just a nice thing to do.