Diplomatic Language

Diplomatic Language

Use English to make your  message less direct, more tactful and more diplomatic.


The language points discussed here are general features of English.  The features in English may be very different from your own language.  It is up to you to decide if you want to use all of the language points discussed here. It is useful; however, if you are going to use English with native speakers, that you are aware of the way they use English to make their message less direct, more tactful and more diplomatic.


Remember the following nine points:


1.     Using would, could or might to make what you say more tentative.


2.     Presenting your view as a question not a statement.


3.     Using a grammatical negative (adding n’t) to make a suggestion more open

        and therefore more negotiable.


4.     Using an introductory phrase to prepare the listener for your message.


5.     Adding “I’m afraid” to make clear that you recognize the unhelpfulness of your response.


6.     Using words which qualify or restrict what you say to make your position more flexible (a bit difficult, a slight problem).


7.     Using ‘not’ with a positive word instead of the obvious negative word (not very convenient, I don’t agree).


8.     Using a comparative (better, more convenient) to soften your message.


9.     Using a continuous form (I was wondering) instead of a simple form (I wondered) to make suggestion more flexible.