What do we mean by ‘good manners’? The Oxford Dictionary of English says that ‘manners’ means, ‘polite or well-bred social behavior’. The collection of rules of ‘polite social behavior’ is called etiquette.

Etiquette is not usually taught in regular schools but we learn it from our parents at home: ‘speak when you are spoken to’, ‘don’t make a noise’ ‘respect other people’s property’.

We pick up some of the general rules as we get older and we just accept them.

Most rules of etiquette have a sensible practical reason behind them, and the basic rule must be – act in the way that makes life easier or simpler for the other person, even if it causes you some effort or inconvenience.

It is always about the other person’s benefit and not about yours.

One point that nearly everyone gets wrong is this: the host (anfitrión) holding a door open for a woman (or any guest) and letting the guest go first (in advance).

In many cases it might be correct to do this, for example, with a friend in your own house; but normally you should go in front of any visitor to your house. After all, you know where everything is, don’t you?

It is also acceptable to let your guest go first in an office corridor or to go through any internal door in a building where you can see what is on the other side.

It is a big mistake to open a door from the street or mall and let a guest (female or not) go in front of you (as the host) when you don’t know what’s on the other side of that door.

The worst cases are bars or restaurants because your guest, going in first, might have to deal with whatever situation exists there. For example, in a restaurant the maître (head waiter) might ask your guest if your group has reserved a table: this is your responsibility and your guest should not have to think about it. So you go first.

The rule is the same in the case of revolving doors: the host goes first. But here there is an additional reason – it might take some effort to push the door into action and it is never the responsibility of your guests to exert themselves on your behalf. So you go first – and you push the revolving door.



1. What is the word meaning the collection of rules of polite behavior?

2. Is etiquette a subject taught in regular schools?

3.   According to the writer, where do we first learn the general rules of good manners?

4.   Two adjectives are used together in this article to describe the reason for these rules. Please state one of them.

5.   The article says we must act in the way that makes life ……………

a) simpler  

b) colder

c) bigger

d) smaller

6.   How many points does the writer say ‘nearly everyone gets wrong’?

7.   Whose responsibility is it to be first to encounter a headwaiter?

8.   What is the additional point to consider about revolving doors?