Living in the UK: do's and don'ts

This exercise looks at some of the things that you should or should not do in the UK. In many cases, these will be the same in your country, but you might find some differences. Match the first part of each sentence on the left with its most appropriate second part on the right, then decide if each situation is acceptable or unacceptable. In some cases, this will depend on the nature of the situation. The first one has been done for you.

1. Arrive at someone's house empty-handed… …when they have invited you for drinks, dinner,
etc.
2. Ask someone about…
3. Ask someone how much…
4. Ask someone how old…
5. Belch after a meal…
6. Blow your nose…
7. Compliment someone…
8. Drive a car without showing courtesy…
9. Drop litter or spit…
10. Eat or drink while…
11. Eat with your…
12. Forget to say…
13. Greet someone without…
14. Hold hands or show gentle affection with…
15. Interrupt someone when they…
16. Leave a party or other social occasion without…
17. Make jokes…
18. Offer to split the bill at the end of…
19. Only buy drinks for yourself…
20. Open a present…
21. Point or stare…
22. Contradict or disagree…
23. Push into the queue…
24. Refusing to eat food…
25. Say "Eh?" or "What?" to someone if…
26. Smoke in someone's house…
27. Try to bring the price down…
28. Use humour and gentle irony when…
29. Use the toilet…
30. Walk into someone's house…
31. Whistle, click your fingers or shout…
32. Arrive slightly late when you are…


…they are.
…they earn.
…in front of other people.
...at a bus stop, in a shop, etc.
…walking along the street.
…for an informal party.
…when they have invited you for drinks, dinner, etc.
…without asking them for their permission first.
…their politics.
…are talking to you.
…you do not hear or understand them.
…in front of the person who has bought it for you.
…"Please" or "Thank you".
…on the ground.
…about someone's skin colour, religion, culture, sexuality, etc.
… shaking hands or kissing them.
…a meal in a restaurant.
…fingers.
…speaking with people you don't know very well.
…invited to an informal party.
…on their clothes or possessions.
…with your shoes on.
…with someone during a discussion.
…to get someone's attention in a pub, restaurant, shop, etc.
…at people.
…to other road users.
…when you are in the pub with friends.
…when you are buying something in a shop.
…to show your appreciation for the food.
…your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, etc, in public places.
…in a pub or restaurant if you are 'caught short' in the street.
…thanking your host for his / her hospitality.
…that is given to you, at a dinner party for example.

Answer
1. …when they have invited you for drinks, dinner etc = unacceptable. It is polite to take a small gift, such as a bottle of wine, chocolates or flowers. 
2. …their politics = unacceptable. 
3. …they earn = unacceptable.
4. …they are = unacceptable, unless this information is needed for something. 
5. …to show your appreciation for the food = unacceptable. 
6. …in front of other people = acceptable. 
7.…on their clothes or possessions = acceptable (and the person being complimented should thank you for your compliments). 
8. …to other road users = unacceptable. Bad manners on the road, including failing to indicate when turning, driving too close behind someone, or suddenly driving in front of another driver so he has to slow down quickly, can result in something called 'road rage', where the other driver becomes very angry. 
9. …on the ground = unacceptable. You can be fined by the police for dropping litter. 
10. …walking along the street = acceptable. 
11. …fingers = acceptable, but it depends where you are and what you are eating. At a party, for example, you might be offered 'finger food' such as sandwiches, nuts, etc, which you eat with your fingers. 
12. …"Please" or "Thank you" = unacceptable. Together with "Sorry" and "Excuse me", these are probably the most important English words, and we use them all the time! 
13.…shaking hands or kissing them = acceptable. British people usually only shake hands in formal situations and when meeting someone for the first time. Kissing when greeting (and saying goodbye) is usually only done between family members and close friends.  
14. …your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, etc, in public places = acceptable.
15. …are talking to you = acceptable, if it is done politely.
16. … thanking your host for his / her hospitality = unacceptable. 
17. …about someone's skin colour, religion, culture, sexuality, etc = (very) unacceptable. 
18.…a meal in a restaurant = acceptable (when we eat in a restaurant, the bill is normally divided equally among the people who have eaten, regardless of who had what to eat, drink, etc). 
19. …when you are in the pub with friends = unacceptable. We take it in turns to buy drinks for the people we are with. This is called 'buying a round'. 
20. …in front of the person who has bought it for you = acceptable (and you should show suitable appreciation, even if you do not like the present!). 
21. …at people = unacceptable. Staring at someone can sometimes be seen as aggressive behaviour, and could get you into trouble. 
22.…with someone during a discussion = acceptable, if it is done politely. 
23. …at a bus stop, in a shop, etc = (very) unacceptable. British people get very angry with anyone who 'jumps the queue'. 
24. …that is given to you, at a dinner party for example = (usually) acceptable if you have a good reason (for example, your religion, your principles or an allergy may prevent you from eating certain foods). 
25. …you do not hear or understand them = unacceptable. It is more polite to say "Sorry?" or "Excuse me?". 
26. …without asking them for their permission first = unacceptable. 
27. …when you are buying something in a shop = unacceptable, but it depends where you are: some smaller shops might be prepared to give you a discount in certain situations, for example, if the thing you are buying is slightly damaged or has been used as a display item, or even if a local competitor is offering a lower price. 
28.…speaking with people you don't know very well = acceptable (for example, it's cold, windy and raining very heavily. You go into a shop and the assistant says to you "Lovely weather, isn't it?"). 
29. …in a pub or restaurant if you are 'caught short' in the street = (usually) acceptable, if you ask the owner first. If you go into a pub, it might be considered prudent and polite to buy a drink afterwards. 
30.…with your shoes on = (generally) unacceptable, but many British people do wear their outside shoes in the house. 
31. ...to get someone's attention in a pub, restaurant, shop, etc = unacceptable. You should try to make eye contact with the person you want, or raise your hand slightly to get their attention. 
32. …invited to an informal party = acceptable. The British are usually very punctual, but this is the one exception where it is considered rude to arrive on time or early!

Living in the UK: do's and don'ts

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