Polite English
improve your english writing

Manners: Behaviour and Body Language

When I was a child, gentlemen used to raise their hats to female acquaintances on the street and I was taught to mind my P’s and Q’s and to give up my seat for my ‘elders and betters’ on the bus. Now I am grown up, no one either raises their hat to me or offers me a seat on a crowded bus. It’s as if courtesy itself is now a thing of the past!
Some might call it prim or starchy to hanker after an old- fashioned code of etiquette, but things must somehow have been pleasanter when people tried to behave in a gentlemanly or ladylike way. I don’t believe that people observed the social graces just because they were anxious about doing the done thing; it was more a matter of being considerate to others and oiling the wheels of social interaction. So let’s stop being offhand with each other and stand on ceremony just a little bit more.


Body language

Research shows that we communicate more through body language than we are aware.
Here are some examples of how we indicate emotion through body language.






verb
what it indicates
comment
flutter your eyelashes
Flirting
used of female behaviour towards a man
raise your or others’ eyebrows
Surprise or shock (either showing or causing)
either a person or behaviour can raise eyebrows
twitch
Nervousness
repeated small movements with parts of the body
flinch
Pain or fear
sudden small movement
squirm
Embarrassment or nervousness
move from side to side on your chair in an awkward way
smirk
Self-satisfaction
smile (negative associations)
beam
Happiness
broad smile (positive associations)
sniff at something
Disapproval
you also sniff when you have a runny nose
snort
Disgust or great
amusement
make an explosive sound by forcing air quickly up or down the nose
titter
Nervousness or embarrassment
small laugh

Exercises.


    Write the below words down in two lists – positive
    and negative.


    Prissy
    offhand
    gentlemanly
    ladylike
    starchy
    strait-laced


    Match the words on the left with the words on the right
    to make collocations.


    code
    graces
    elders
    thing
    give up
    on ceremony
    mind
    the wheels
    oil
    your seat
    social
    and betters
    stand
    your Ps and Qs
    the done
    of etiquette

    Look at the Body Language table and answer these questions.

    Priscilla fluttered her eyelashes at Rob. Why did she do this?
    Joe was twitching all evening. Do you think he was relaxed?
    Jane sniffed at every comment I made at the meeting. How did Jane feel about my comments?
    Jack flinched when I touched his arm. Why do you think he flinched?
    The children’s language on the bus raised a few of the other passengers’ eyebrows. What must the children’s language have been like?
    Look at the photo. Meg’s smirking and Tanya’s beaming. Who does the speaker think looks nicer – Meg or Tanya?
    There was an occasional titter at the comedian’s jokes. Do you think the comedian was pleased at how his jokes were received?

    Circle the best of the two underlined words to complete each of these sentences.

    Willy sniffed/snorted with laughter all through the play.
    Whenever I’m tired or nervous, my eyelid starts to
    twitch/flinch.
    Sit still and don’t
    squirm/smirk like that.
    Who’s Mary fluttering her
    eyebrows/eyelashes at now?
    The dentist stopped drilling as soon as he felt me
    flinch/snort.
    Please don’t
    titter/sniff – here’s a box of tissues!