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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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.”