Proof Americans and Brits speak a different language

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  • Most things we do are neither courageous NOR cowardly. But what does courageous mean?
    "marked by bold resolution in withstanding the dangerous, alarming, or difficult"

    Where are defenseless victims mentioned there?

    I know you want to say "these guys were reprehensible". I think so too. But it doesn't help to twist the meanings of words just to vent your emotions about them.
  • I don't like people using cowardly for "attacks the defenseless" except in very, very limited circumstances--namely, that they were in a position (such as an organized war, with a set and recognized position in an army) which required them to attack combatants, and THEN they deliberately turned aside from that duty to attack civilians instead. That, I could stand to use "cowardly" about, since it implies that the choice was made because of faint-heartedness, and in such a case that is quite possibly the motive.

    But in general terms (say, used of murderers who have no recognized and legitimate business picking up a weapon at all), "cowardly" seems to be the worst of understatements. Is it "cowardly" to mass murder kindergartners? Only in the same way that dry ice is a bit chilly, or a sudden massive stroke a bit inconvenient. The adjective focuses on the least important aspect of the deed, and gives it the least degree of emphasis available, and and totally ignores aspects of the deed that should receive all the attention. Why not use "heinous," "horrific," "inhumane," abominable," so-fucked-up-there=are-no-words" ?
  • Well. What is going on with "thank you for your service"? Just because of an uniform? Which occurs only in American airports and advanced access to entry to the plane. Hero sandwich.
  • Golden KeyGolden Key Shipmate, Glory
    It's a way to thank military for protecting us. Can also be said to firefighters, police, etc.

    I periodically say it. More often to older and/or veterans. Sometimes to cops--generally when they're directing traffic, because they're right there. I figure that if they feel more appreciated, that might be reflected in the way they treat people. And, as messed up as cops and their actions often are, they are there to protect us.

    Canadians don't do anything like that for their protectors?? How about folks in other countries?
  • I have never heard down here of advance boarding or thanks for the service. Nor have I heard of socks and helmet liners being knitted for troops. Yes, but in WWI and possibly WWII. Applause, but subdued and flags waved onAnzac Day march which is mostly a subdued affair.

    There have been processions and they have been livelier, but the culture spoken of is not part of our make up, generally.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    In Edinburgh, it's customary to say a Thank you to the bus driver as you exit - though that is likely to be extinguished as the newer vehicles have separate entering and exiting doors.

    Does that go on elsewhere?
  • Robert ArminRobert Armin Shipmate, Glory
    Absolutely Firenze! Manners are always important.
  • People here on the borders/outskirts of London thank the driver when they get off the bus. And on the rare occaions when we interact with staff at Tube stations we thanks them too.
  • Yes, here in SW UK thanks are usual as well.
  • I always thank bus driver.
  • I don't like people using cowardly for "attacks the defenseless" except in very, very limited circumstances--namely, that they were in a position (such as an organized war, with a set and recognized position in an army) which required them to attack combatants, and THEN they deliberately turned aside from that duty to attack civilians instead. That, I could stand to use "cowardly" about, since it implies that the choice was made because of faint-heartedness, and in such a case that is quite possibly the motive.

    But in general terms (say, used of murderers who have no recognized and legitimate business picking up a weapon at all), "cowardly" seems to be the worst of understatements. Is it "cowardly" to mass murder kindergartners? Only in the same way that dry ice is a bit chilly, or a sudden massive stroke a bit inconvenient. The adjective focuses on the least important aspect of the deed, and gives it the least degree of emphasis available, and and totally ignores aspects of the deed that should receive all the attention. Why not use "heinous," "horrific," "inhumane," abominable," so-fucked-up-there=are-no-words" ?
    @Lamb Chopped it's all those things, but that doesn't stop it from being cowardly as well.


    And changing the subject, it's normal to say thank you to the driver on leaving a bus here, and there's the same problem with some recently introduced buses which have separate exits and entrances.
  • Firenze wrote: »
    In Edinburgh, it's customary to say a Thank you to the bus driver as you exit - though that is likely to be extinguished as the newer vehicles have separate entering and exiting doors.

    Does that go on elsewhere?

    In the North-west it is the norm to thank the bus driver. It’s interesting to see people say that this is done in London as I didn’t notice it when I’ve visited.
  • I said 'outskirts' (SW Herts to be exact), not Central London, where people don't have time for such courtesies.
  • Robert ArminRobert Armin Shipmate, Glory
    When I was in Australia, people often had their degrees framed and on the wall of their office. Does this happen in America as well? It would not be normal in the UK; I might have seen it in a dentist's surgery, but I don't think anywhere else.
  • Thanking bus drivers is usual.
    Degrees framed typical.

    Do restaurant staff wait until you have started eating, and ask "how are the first few bites tasting?". It wasn't always done. People suggest it's a requirement of the job to do it.
  • When I was in Australia, people often had their degrees framed and on the wall of their office. Does this happen in America as well? It would not be normal in the UK; I might have seen it in a dentist's surgery, but I don't think anywhere else.
    Very normal in the U.S.

    As for “thank you for your service”:
    Golden Key wrote: »
    It's a way to thank military for protecting us. Can also be said to firefighters, police, etc.
    I rather like saying it to school teachers. One of my problems with “thank you for your service” is that it tends to be reserved for those in uniform. There are many ways of serving.
    I periodically say it. More often to older and/or veterans.
    This part is tricky, I think. My father was a WW2 veteran, he would have been most uncomfortable with being thanked for his service. I would have responded politely, I think, because that was his nature. But I don’t know that he would have appreciated. His service was something he didn’t like to talk about, didn’t want attention drawn to, and didn’t particularly want to be reminded of.
  • How much does it slow one down to say thank you to the driver/conductor?
  • Eirenist wrote: »
    I said 'outskirts' (SW Herts to be exact), not Central London, where people don't have time for such courtesies.

    Watford?
  • Robert ArminRobert Armin Shipmate, Glory
    mousethief wrote: »
    How much does it slow one down to say thank you to the driver/conductor?

    Not at all. One says it in passing, rather than making a production of it.
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    I'd always say thank you to bus drivers - why on earth wouldn't you?
  • HuiaHuia Shipmate
    I always thank bus drivers and it's very common here in Christchurch, but when I was in Wellington I noticed vey few people did. It could be because the bus service there is horrendous (for structural reasons beyond the control of the drivers).
  • Golden KeyGolden Key Shipmate, Glory
    I usually thank bus drivers if I'm going out the front door. Depends, though, on noise level, crowd, how I'm feeling, how the driver is feeling, etc.

    Oh, and re thanking veterans: I only know they're veterans if they're wearing their uniform (full or jacket); so I figure that, all other things being equal, they're probably not trying to hide their service.
  • RossweisseRossweisse Hell Host, 8th Day Host, Glory
    ...Do restaurant staff wait until you have started eating, and ask "how are the first few bites tasting?". It wasn't always done. People suggest it's a requirement of the job to do it.
    Hereabout we're getting "Is everything tasting delicious?" This annoys me; I usually respond with something along the lines of, "It's good, thank you," assuming that it actually is.

    My father never wanted to be thanked for his (WW2) service, and turned down an "honor flight" to Washington, DC, a couple of times. (I wanted him to do it, and go along as his companion, because I - selfishly - thought it would make a great story.) But a couple of times when he was dining out with a couple of his buddies, and came in wearing his Army Air Force cap (which he removed upon entering - he was not one to wear a hat indoors), anonymous people picked up the tab, with a message for the server to pass along. I thought that was well done.


  • Vietnam War Vets were never formally thanked for their service. Consequently, when the Gulf War happened Vietnam Vet Groups insisted all servicemen be thanked for their service when they returned home. https://www.quora.com/Why-do-people-say-Thank-you-for-your-service-who-started-it
  • mousethief wrote: »
    How much does it slow one down to say thank you to the driver/conductor?

    Not at all. One says it in passing, rather than making a production of it.
    Never seen anyone make a production of it.
  • Watford: you got it in one.

    'How is your meal?' I usually reply 'All right so far.'
  • I'm usually singularly unimpressed with the focus on food in restaurants. The purpose is the people I'm with. Thus I tend to respond with a nod or "alright". Slightly asocial.
  • I'm usually singularly unimpressed with the focus on food in restaurants. The purpose is the people I'm with. Thus I tend to respond with a nod or "alright". Slightly asocial.
    !!!! 🙃😟😕☹️😖😫

    @NOprophet_NØprofit I may have completely missed your point but I really don't want to go to a restaurant that doesn't focus its attention on the food it's going to put on my plate.

  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    That puzzled me a bit too, Enoch - while it's always nice to have good company in a restaurant, if the food's a bit rubbish, what's the point?

    [tangent]
    D's pet peeve with restaurant staff is when they offer pepper before you've had a chance to try your food, and consequently don't know if it needs pepper. We were at a very up-market (and extremely up-itself) restaurant once where the service was so slow it was almost going backwards. When the waiter eventually brought D's soup, he did the usual flourish with a huge peppermill - "Would Sir like some pepper?". D. replied, as quick as a flash, "No thank you, but he'd really like a spoon".
    [/tangent]
  • It's a bit of a local joke that in South Wales all bus drivers are called "Drive". There's usually at least one person who says "thanks Drive" at any bus stop.
  • Golden KeyGolden Key Shipmate, Glory
    I'm usually singularly unimpressed with the focus on food in restaurants. The purpose is the people I'm with. Thus I tend to respond with a nod or "alright". Slightly asocial.

    Ummm...I'm another person who finds this somewhat oxymoronic. (Unless it's meant as satire?) If you don't want to be bothered by food-related activity in a restaurant, meet your friends under a tree, etc. (Seriously.) If you want mindless munching along with your convo, bring a big bag of junk snacks to share. Cheaper than a restaurant.
  • As a former bus driver, in my experience college students and regular, younger commuters thank often. Elderly retired people coming back from dinner at 4pm also thank you often. Everyone outside of those demographics generally don’t thank you. They are quite quick to shout, though, when you have to use the brakes to avoid some idiot trying to push the bus into traffic.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    edited September 2019
    I tend to put courtesy to wait staff on a par with things like thanking the bus driver. Yes, some wait staff can be a bit much at times, but for the most part they’re doing a job that, like any job requiring dealing with the public, can be challenging and for which they likely aren’t paid enough. The least I can do is smile and say “thank you” every time they check in on the table, refill my glass, etc.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    edited September 2019
  • Nick Tamen wrote: »
    I tend to put courtesy to wait staff on a par with things like thanking the bus driver. Yes, some wait staff can be a bit much at times, but for the most part they’re doing a job that, like any job requiring dealing with the public, can be challenging and for which they likely aren’t paid enough. The least I can do is smile and say “thank you” every time they check in on the table, refill my glass, etc.
    Same here. I was a nurse for 25 years and I know the value of being thanked when work is difficult (and I generally found the public polite and friendly, whether working in busy central London or middle class Cambridge or the down at heel Luton). I thank drivers, waiters, bin men...mind you, I’m also someone who chats to strangers in the street.
    I’ve been in a posh restaurant and witnessed an obviously wealthy man speak rudely to a waiter for no reason and it just made me think ‘does he seriously think he’ll have a better treatment because he behaves like that?’ Good manners makes the whole occasion more pleasant for everyone.
  • I’ve been in a posh restaurant and witnessed an obviously wealthy man speak rudely to a waiter for no reason and it just made me think ‘does he seriously think he’ll have a better treatment because he behaves like that?’ Good manners makes the whole occasion more pleasant for everyone.

    My (obviously not wealthy) ex dealt with his own inferiority complex by being very "superior" to waiters, cashiers, etc. He actually made derogatory comments about my being pleasant to a cashier in a grocery store.
  • RussRuss Deckhand, Styx
    Thanking the bus driver seems like the right thing to do when he's stopped at a request stop because I've pushed the button, and I'm the only person getting off there.

    When the bus stops there anyway and there are a dozen people getting off, it's less of a personal service...
  • Russ wrote: »
    Thanking the bus driver seems like the right thing to do when he's stopped at a request stop because I've pushed the button, and I'm the only person getting off there.

    When the bus stops there anyway and there are a dozen people getting off, it's less of a personal service...

    In one sense you are right, but it is still a service from which you are benefiting. As is each other person who gets off at that stop.

  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    Russ wrote: »
    ... When the bus stops there anyway and there are a dozen people getting off, it's less of a personal service...
    As Loth said, it's still a service. Would you not bother to thank the cashier in a supermarket who counts out your change and possibly packs your groceries just because they're doing it for other people as well???
  • Piglet wrote: »
    [tangent]
    D's pet peeve with restaurant staff is when they offer pepper before you've had a chance to try your food, and consequently don't know if it needs pepper. We were at a very up-market (and extremely up-itself) restaurant once where the service was so slow it was almost going backwards. When the waiter eventually brought D's soup, he did the usual flourish with a huge peppermill - "Would Sir like some pepper?". D. replied, as quick as a flash, "No thank you, but he'd really like a spoon".[/tangent]
    Not a tangent at all. I always say yes, because I love pepper and seldom get enough, and also out of charity because it makes them feel like they're doing something for you.
  • I love pepper too, so also typically say “yes, please.” But the only dishes for which I’m ever offered pepper are salads or those which are traditionally served with fresh-ground pepper, like pasta carbonara.
  • Enoch wrote: »
    So it's noble and brave is it to murder innocent and defenceless bystanders whom you know aren't going to fight back?
    Killing noncombatants is certainly ignoble, but not inherently timid. There are quite a lot of activities that are neither brave nor not brave.

  • Not every terrible thing is cowardly. "Cowardly" does not mean "morally reprehensible."
  • RossweisseRossweisse Hell Host, 8th Day Host, Glory
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    I love pepper too, so also typically say “yes, please.” ...
    I'm allergic to black pepper; I always have to specify "Please don't add any black pepper to anything you'll be serving me." And then I still usually have to stop the aggressor with the pepper mill before s/he can cover my salad or whatever in the stuff.

    I always smile and greet service people, and smile and thank them; I think it's a pretty basic aspect of living in civilization. I, too, was married to someone who found it "rather silly" that I did so. We disagreed on that, as on many, many other things.


  • Rossweisse wrote: »
    I, too, was married to someone who found it "rather silly" that I did so. We disagreed on that, as on many, many other things.

    Did he also hate opera?


  • Loon. You can't have too much courtesy.
  • Golden KeyGolden Key Shipmate, Glory
    I find that kind of courtesy also gives me a sense of connection--and actual connections. I've been isolated a lot, so it helps to have micro- and mini-relationships with clerks, pharmacists, delivery people, etc..

    And it can also be helpful/comforting to the person I'm connecting with. Helps if they're having a bad day, etc.

    I also try to give that courtesy to someone I'll likely deal with only once, like a phone rep for a company or agency. E.g., I thank them, wish them a good weekend, etc., and they usually reciprocate, and some sound especially pleased that someone bothered to deal with them as a *person*.

    By the bye, there's a mystery by Nancy Atherton called "Aunt Dimity & The Next Of Kin". (More or less in the "cozy mystery" class.) One thread of the story is how these kinds of relationships develop, and their effect. The Aunt Dimity books are always worth a read, and I particularly like this one.
  • Robert ArminRobert Armin Shipmate, Glory
    Loon. You can't have too much courtesy.

    Absolutely
  • PigwidgeonPigwidgeon Shipmate
    edited September 2019
    Back before everything was automated and computer-connected the way they are now, I worked at a store where we had to enter most credit card transactions on a special little keypad - except Discover cards (a U.S. only, but popular, card). Those we had to call in. I figured answering those calls had to be the most boring, impersonal job in the world. It consisted of asking my merchant number, the card number and expiration date, and the amount of the purchase, and then issuing an authorization number. They always started with "Thank you for calling Discover Card, this is [name], may I have your merchant number?" I always wrote down their name, and at the end of the call would thank them by name, and usually add something very short, even if it was to have a nice day, or something seasonal when appropriate. I know they weren't allowed to waste time chatting, but I liked to acknowledge that they were indeed a human, even though they must have often felt they were not.

    (Ever since then I've made a point of writing down the name of people I deal with on the phone so that I can thank them by name at the end of the call if they've been helpful :smile: -- or know who to complain about if they have not! :frowning: )
  • I find it funny when Americans refer to their gardens as 'yards', over here in the UK yards are small grubby areas, often containing a bit of junk, or an old outside loo. All those small Victorian terraced houses in smoky industrial cities had 'yards'. I gather that our American friends are talking about something a lot more charming.

    Nah, my yard is a small, grubby area! ;)
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