Etiquette of referencing

December 4, 2008

I thoroughly enjoyed Kevin McCarron's article on manners and etiquette ("Courtesy calls", November). I especially liked his comment that the essence of good manners is consideration for other people, a concern for others' comfort and convenience.

But I noticed that while he referred to Debrett's as being Britain's leading expert on manners and etiquette, his article was about manners in England. My rule of thumb for a British publication is if you refer only to a single country such as England (or Wales or Scotland or Northern Ireland), then it is good manners to make a reference to why and how the situation is different in the other countries within the UK.

Otherwise, you should refer to Britain. Of course, it may just be that manners are quite different in Scotland. On the other hand, perhaps a person with manners wouldn't point this out in public.

Muffy Calder, University of Glasgow.

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