Unpardonable vulgarisms

For my microreading this morning, I picked up the 1960 copyright version of Emily Post’s Ettiquette.

I pass on to you the following words and phrases to avoid.

Never say I desire to purchase. Say instead I would like to buy

Never say I trust I am  not trespassing. Say instead: I hope I am  not in the way (Although Ms. Post notes that if you are actually trespassing, then it’s acceptable to say the former.)

Never say Request. Say instead: Ask

Never say Permit me to assist you. Say instead Let me help you

Never say Converse Say instead Talk

Never say I will ascertain  Say instead I will find out

Never say Mansion  Say instead Big house

Never say Corsage . Say instead .Emily’s explanation here is worth noting: “A word cherished by many, but distasteful to the fastidious, who prefer the phrase, flowers to wear.”

Never say Galluses Say instead Suspenders a word she judges  merely “admissible.” Braces, however, rank “Smartest.”

And my favorite:

Never say Drapes “This word is an inexcusable vulgarism.”

Finally, take note:

“…a woman of best society may use slang occasionally at yet leave the impression of her background intact, while an equally attractive and equally well-dressed woman proclaims her lack of background through an overuse of both slang and colloquialisms.”

We walk a fine line. You’ve been warned.


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  1. Since Emily is so big on plain speech, I wonder what she would say about this lesson from my childhood: Never say “I’m full.” Instead, say “I’ve had a sufficiency, thank you.”

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