‘Thank you’, ‘Please’ and the magic words

thank you in english

Photo credit: Margaret Littman, Tribune Newspapers

When I was initially thinking about how to structure this blog, I was considering (and many people were encouraging me) to write it in Russian. I thought that would somewhat limit the number of potential readers, so I decided to go with English. However, sometimes I come across phrases that have perfect Russian equivalents (and I have a thing for perfect equivalents – as if something in my mind clicks and the missing piece of a puzzle falls into place), so I can’t resist mentioning them.

Yesterday I spent about an hour reading a book in a café and there was a mother with a 5- or 6-year old daughter at the next table. At some point she was given something sweet, I think, but forgot to say ‘Thank you’. To which her mother replied ‘I think the word ‘thank you’ was lacking‘. I immediately thought of how in Russian we say ‘А где же волшебное слово?’ (‘And what about the magic word’) when we want a child to be polite and say ‘Please’. To me that’s a near-perfect equivalent!

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