040 Using Polite Language in Office Business


(Office ambience)

CH:Amy, Are you guys going to lunch?

A:Yes. Would you like to join us?


A:I have to make one phone call before I leave. Would you like to wait for me or go ahead with everyone else?


A:Thank you.

C:No problem.

A:Say, Chen Hao, my phone call can wait a few minutes. I need to tell you something while it is on my mind.

C:Uh-oh. 我做错什么事了吗?

A:No, you said something wrong. Actually you said two things that caught my attention.


A:First, you used the expression "You guys."

C:我那些同事经常把you guys挂在嘴边上,我这可是跟美国人学的。

A:I know they do, but that doesn't mean it's correct or polite.


A:Because the word "guy" is an informal term that refers to a man or boy. People today use the plural "guys" without regard for gender. That is not correct usage of the word and it demonstrates a lack of polish.


A:You could have simply asked, "Are you going to lunch?" Or you could have said, "Are you ALL going to lunch?"


A:Now please excuse me while I make that quick phone call. Otherwise we'll miss lunch altogether.

C:No problem.



C:Amy, 你刚才不是还要纠正我另外一个错误吗?

A:Yes. I have noticed that when someone says "thank you", your response is always "no problem."


A:Lots of people say that in response to "thank you." However, that is not the correct reply. The correct response to "thank you" is "You are welcome."

C:Amy, 你是不是太挑剔了?

A:No, it's being polite and polished. "You guys" and "no problem" are slang phrases which are not formal.


A:That's right. Slang expressions will detract from your professional image. "You guys" is only acceptable with a group of men in a very informal setting like the locker room.

C:那"no problem"呢?

A:It is only acceptable when someone asks if you have problem with something.


A:You got it! Now let's eat. I am starving.