Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

Etiquette & Languages

Etiquette and Languages observes how people relate to each other through behaviors and speech. Find information on topics like tipping, sign language, good manners and slang.


Do You Have to Pull Over for a Funeral Procession?

Few rules on funeral procession are enshrined in law; most are just customs. But that doesn't mean you should break them.

Why is Chuck the Short for Charles and Bill the Short for William?

There's no 'U' in Charles or 'B' in William, so how did those get to be the nicknames?

Where Did 'Shirt and Shoes Required' Come From?

Nope, it has nothing to do with the health department.

How Different Accents Develop Within the Same Language

There are two main factors that influence the development of unique accents within a language: human nature and isolation.

Female Supreme Court Justices Interrupted Three Times More Frequently Than Men

A new study found conservatives more often interrupted liberals, and that the frequency of "manterrupting" has increased along with the number of women on the court.

Why 'Wednesday' Isn't Pronounced the Way It's Spelled

There's a term for a vanishing letter like that in spoken American English's Wednesday. But first, some history about ancient gods.

What Does It Take to Fit Into a Nation? Speak the Dominant Language, Many Say.

Speaking a country's native language counts for a lot — even more than birthplace — when it comes to national identity, according to a new Pew survey.

Merriam-Webster Adds More Than 1,000 New Words to the Dictionary

Binge-watch, photobomb, Seussian and safe space: Got it! But santoku and bokeh? Pareidolia and snollygoster?

4 Ways Apostrophes Are Mangled Every Day

"Flower's For Sale!" "Happy Birthday from the Smith's!" Why do we commit these apostrophe abuses, and how can we stop them?

Baby Names Are Getting More Unique in the U.S., Even When Times Are Tough

Researchers set out to determine whether times of economic hardship made parents feel the need to fit in or stand out.