I’m not asking for a pretty please or even a cherry on top, just a basic, no-nonsense, common courtesy please.
Oh, and a thank you to follow, of course.
The whole “Could you pass me a pen?” way of asking for a favour is irritating.
My ideal response would be “Yes I could, if you could say please.” but, obviously, that is not always the best way to play it.
Man charged after £14.5k of cannabis seized at drug factory in Luton home
Plans to protect Luton parks being drawn up because council is 'ignoring' its own local plan says councillor
Picture shows aftermath of field fire in Sundon Park Road in Luton
Youths spotted deliberately damaging fencing along the Luton to Dunstable busway
Luton's Wigmore Park needs your vote in contest to find the nation's top green spaces
I definitely take after my mother, who is a stickler for manners.
And why not? It is gratious, thoughtful and, most importantly, doesn’t cost a penny to be polite.
And do you know another bug bear of mine? Huh?
Why not “pardon”? Or “excuse me”? Or even – if you have time to form a sentence – “sorry, I didn’t hear you, what did you say”?
At my house, in my own surroundings, I feel quite at home extracting a please or thank you from visitors – especially if I am feeding such guests!
But out in the wider world, I find myself biting my tongue most days and then becoming disgruntled.
After a little bit of research into my need for politeness, I see that sociolinguists Brown and Levinson have identified two kinds – negative politeness and positive politeness.
Negative politeness is apparently making a request less infringing by adding “If you don’t mind...” or “If it isn’t too much trouble...” to your ask.
And positive politeness “seeks to establish a positive relationship between parties; respects a person’s need to be liked and understood”.
Such complexities are not what I’m aiming for. Just simple Ps and Qs.
Some might say life’s too short to get your knickers in a twist about something so trivial as manners.
To that I have two answers. One, it isn’t trivial. And two, manners make life just that bit lovelier at no extra cost.
Say please and you will find that I am more than happy to help.
Say thank you and you are also likely to get service with a smile.
It’s pretty easy. Want me to do you a favour? No problem. Just watch your Ps and Qs! Please.