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.

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We tend to think of etiquette rules as stuffy Victorian-era holdovers. Plenty of guidelines, however, not only help society run smoothly — they keep its members healthy!

By Clint Pumphrey

We've all seen that guy. You know, the one screaming out song requests, heckling the band and shoving his way through the crowd. He's the worst! Luckily, he can get his act together by following the 10 commandments of concertgoing.

By Oisin Curran

We've all had a boss who didn't act very boss-like. While you're busy hustling, he's busy breaking every etiquette rule in the book. Wouldn't it be nice if your boss got some office savoir faire? Here's a start.

By Stefanie Kleber

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Etiquette experts agree: Kids should refer to grown-ups as Mr., Mrs. or the like. But shouldn't it matter what the grown-up thinks?

By Kate Kershner

Can't stomach the idea of turning up at a birthday bash empty-handed? If you've been asked to skip the present, kindly consider everyone's feelings.

By Kate Kershner

It depends on your standards — how do you feel about sidewalk spitting? But a few nations have earned high marks for ease of getting along.

By Kate Kershner

Is the lady at home? Indisposed, you say? Take my calling card, and I'll return to my mansion to await her prompt response.

By Kate Kershner

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The queen's marriage got a revealing start — perhaps signaling worse to come. What caused the diamond-studded wardrobe malfunction on the dauphine's big day?

By Kate Kershner

It used to be considered tacky to wear white for your second wedding or to throw your own birthday party. While these things are now thankfully OK, other customs — like promptly RSVPing and not bragging about money — need to be revived.

By Alia Hoyt

Addressing questions about rudeness, social protocol and etiquette has a long history, with many contributors — but did women invent etiquette?

By Kate Kershner

Unfortunately, other people's ballots are none of your business. And in some situations, asking about them is not only tacky — it's illegal.

By Kate Kershner

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Tempted to try to avoid a big talk about your feelings? Breaking up with someone in public is inconsiderate — and could lead to a messier scene than you ever imagined. But is it rude?

By Kate Kershner

Do you regularly post pictures of your dinner? Update the world on your daily workout? Write cryptic messages guaranteed to elicit sympathy? You, my friend, need a refresher course in Facebook etiquette.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

The Victorians were many things, but simple and straightforward in their social dealings they were not. While their rules for behavior might strike us as overly rigid today, those rules formed the backbone of Victorian society.

By Jane McGrath

Whether you're there to grab light bulbs or a dinner feast, the grocery store is full of opportunities to get a little lax with your social graces. Here are some guidelines to keep the process running smoothly. What are your grocery rules?

By Oisin Curran

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Hey, recognize me? I'm the one chatting loudly on my cell phone on the treadmill next to yours. Later on, I'll forget to wipe off the machine when I get off. Yep, I'm the gym hog who needs a refresher course in etiquette.

By Alia Hoyt

When you go to one of those fancy, elaborate dinners, it seems like the place settings have more forks than anything else. Believe it or not, each one has its own purpose.

By Kate Kershner

Pointing is such a simple and effective gesture, yet it's a source of controversy in many cultures. But exactly why is it rude for someone to point?

By Kate Kershner

Ah, the modern office cubicle. It's the ultimate illusion of privacy, because we all know that it won't protect you from your co-workers' loud conversations or food smells, not to mention their use of the speakerphone.

By Kate Kershner

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Attended a really nice dinner lately? You probably couldn't help but notice all of the fancy silverware. Believe it or not, there's a reason for all of it.

By Kate Kershner

Adherence to etiquette and other social rules seems to be on the decline, but one rule seems to live on: males shall not wear hats inside.

By Kate Kershner

In every nation and culture, people stare. And it's universally considered rude behavior, but who made the rule that staring at someone was uncool?

By Kate Kershner

It's dinner time! And everyone is enjoying the meal, excepting those folks texting away on their phones. Are they being rude or is this an acceptable part of modern life?

By Kate Kershner

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Your phone is ringing, but you just don't want to talk to the caller. So you let the call go to voicemail and now you feel guilty. Is it ever OK to screen your calls?

By Kate Kershner

So you are just minding your business, cruising the Internet, when you get bombarded with tweets about some political argument. Congratulations! You've just been tagged into a Twitter argument.

By Kate Kershner