top of page

Say It Right: How to Sound Polite in English

When you think of British people, what pops into your head? Maybe their dry sense of humour, always talking about the weather, or obsessing over the perfect cup of tea...

Or maybe their good manners!

British people are famous for being polite. It's about more than just saying "please" and "thank you." It involves lots of small things that show respect and kindness to others.

Whether you're a beginner or advanced English learner, understanding British manners can help you feel more confident in your conversations.

But don't worry - it's not complicated!

Here are five quick tips to help you navigate the delightful world of British politeness...


1. The Power of "Please" and "Thank You"

Of course, everyone knows "please" and "thank you" are important in any language. But the British like to be extra polite!

In fact, we even call please: the magic word.

So if you're asking for help, ordering at a café, or getting information, try sprinkling your sentences with please and thank you to show politeness and gratitude.


3. Asking Nicely

In British culture, it's good to use softening phrases when you want something. This will make you sound more polite and considerate.

Which sounds kinder?

A: "Give me the salt."

B: "Could you pass me the salt please?"

If you chose B, you're much more likely to get what you want! Some other examples of softening phrases are "I wonder if...?" and "Would you mind...?"


2. Best Behaviour

British manners aren't just about words - they're also about how you behave.

Remember to stand or sit up straight, look at the person you're talking to, and offer a genuine smile.

These body language cues show respect, interest, and and friendliness. It helps create a positive atmosphere in any conversation.


4. Saying Sorry

If you've visited the UK before, you already know we say sorry ALL the time.

In fact, research shows that Brits say sorry up to 1.9 million times during their lifetime!

In British culture, apologising isn't just about admitting fault - it's showing that you understand and feel bad about what happened. We also use it instead of saying "excuse me".

So don't worry if you make a mistake or accidentally do something wrong; a sincere "I'm sorry" goes a long way in repairing a conversation.


5. Making Small Talk

In Britain, people often have small conversations about simple things like the weather, current events, or what they did at the weekend. We call this 'small talk' or 'chit chat'.

Its helps to make interactions friendly and comfortable. Remember to listen carefully, nod in agreement, and ask open-ended questions to keep the conversation flowing smoothly.


Learn More and Refine Your British Manners

Now that you have these tips, it's time to practise!

At Brighter English, our native British teachers can help you improve your spoken English and master the art of British politeness.

If you want to improve your British manners and feel more confident in conversations, our weekly Conversation Club is the place for you!

The interactive classes will help you learn about British culture and language in a supportive group of English enthusiasts.

Book your trial lesson now for only £10...

...or click here for more information.

You'll have the chance to speak English with others, learn new vocabulary, and improve your communication skills. And our friendly teachers will help you feel comfortable and confident as you learn.

With a little practice and guidance, you'll be speaking like a Brit in no time!

Related Posts

See All


bottom of page