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.

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

In an era of strict social rules, dance cards let gentlemen "claim" ladies for their turn on the floor.

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?

Grain-free, sugar-free, manners-free? While some dietary restrictions are necessary, others risk placing an unreasonable burden on mealtime hosts.

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.

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 odd today, those wacky ways formed the backbone of Victorian society.

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?

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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?

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?

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?

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.

We are taught not to talk about our salary with anyone, but there are actually some very good reasons why you sometimes should.

You toss your clothes and detergent in, let the cycle run and then pop that laundry in the dryer. Easy peasy. But there are some nuances to laundromat manners you may not be privy to.

Using the @ sign on Twitter can be helpful, but many people unwittingly -- and sometimes knowingly -- misuse it when dogging someone out.

Emily Post might've been born into high society, but it took years of ups and downs before she would emerge as America's preeminent — and surprisingly open-minded — etiquette expert.

The train seems to bring out the wackadoodle and boorishness in commuters in ways that are still uncommon on planes. Which 10 things must you never do when riding the rails?

Who's the worst in the restroom? The person who drips on the seat, talks on the phone or hogs the mirror? We put all three – and some others – on our list of annoyances.

For the rule-loving (and germaphobic) people among us, IKEA can be a nightmare: Huge crowds, long lines and loud kids can make things seem chaotic. Help bring order to the madness by following our etiquette outline.

To make the best out of your next 30-second trip in vertical transportation horror, follow our 10 weird (but indispensable!) rules of elevator etiquette.