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     Volume 1 Issue 2 | July 22, 2006 |


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How to Say It?

Do you remember the fun exercise you were given in the last issue? The girl wants to get her idea across to her mother. She wants to wear her favourite red dress at the school function. She is communicating this idea to her mother because she wants her mother to iron her dress.
Here are a few of the many different ways in which the little girl could express her idea:
1. “Mom. Can you iron the red dress for me?”
2. “Will you please iron my red dress, Mother? I want to look good at the function today.”
3. “Mom! Iron my red dress! I'm getting late for the function.”
4. “Boy! Won't I look cool in this red dress! Iron this dress for me, Mom, will you?”
5. “Mother, could you please iron this red dress? I'm going to wear it at the function today. I want every body to look at me with admiration.”

Every day we meet people we already know or will get to know. Today, let's discuss a few different ways in which people can introduce and greet each other. When two people not known to each other meet, it is usually a third person who introduces them. He or she can do it in different ways.
Read the following dialogues and see how people get introduced to one another.

Tanim Hossain and Shakil Ahmed teach English at a college in town. Seema Khan has recently joined the department as a lecturer. Shakil has already met Seema but Tanim hasn't met her yet. Tanim Hossain enters the teachers' room and greets Shakil Ahmed.
Tanim Hossain: Good morning, Mr. Ahmed.
Shakil Ahmed : Good morning, Mr. Hossain. I don't think you have met our new colleague. This is Ms. Seema Khan. Ms. Khan will teach drama.
Ms. Khan, this is Mr. Tanim Hossain, our language teacher.
T. Hossain: How do you do?
Seema Khan: How do you do?

Note: How do you do is not a question and it doesn't have any meaning as such. It is an expression of greeting only at the first meeting, i.e. when two people are introduced for the first time. Once you have known some one you don't say 'How do you do' to him or her at a later meeting. You can then say, 'Hello', ‘How are you', 'Hi', or 'Good morning', 'Good afternoon' etc. In reply to 'How do you do' you will also say 'How do you do', not 'Fine, thank you' or any other thing. While saying 'How do you do' it is customary for both to shake hands.

It's a centre for learning modern languages. Jamal, Mina and Rumi are having tea at the cafeteria in between their French classes. At a table near-by a young foreigner is having tea by himself. Shyamal comes in.
Shyamal :Hello, everybody.
His friends :Hi, Shyamal. Come and join us.
Shyamal :Thanks. Who's that guy at the next table?
Jamal : Oh, that's Ron Carter. Ron is learning Bangla. Haven't you met him yet?
Shyamal : I don't think so.
Jamal : Come; let me introduce you to him.
(Going over to Ron's table) Ron, this is my friend, Shyamal, Shyamal Sen. And Shyamal, this is Ron Carter.
Shyamal : Pleased to meet you, Mr. Carter.
Ron: Nice meeting you. Please call me Ron.

Notice that in an informal, friendly situation the language for greeting and introduction also changes. We have already mentioned that 'How do you do' can be used only at the first meeting and not afterwards. In the above dialogue we see Shyamal and his friends greet one another by saying 'Hello' and 'Hi', whereas, after the introduction Shyamal and Ron say 'Pleased to meet you' and 'Nice meeting you'. The last two expressions you can say to some one you have just met, not to some one you already know.

Zahir Alam and Ms. Pushpa Majumder are waiting on the ground floor of the office for the lift.
Z. Alam: Hello! May I introduce myself? I'm Zahir Alam.
P. Majumder: How do you do. I'm Pushpa Majumder.
Z. Alam: Nice meeting you, Ms. majumder. I guess you're the new librarian.
P. Majumder: That's right. I joined last week.
Z. Alam: I work in the publication department. I've already heard a lot about you from my friend Anil.
P. majumder: Oh, really! What have you heard?
Z. Alam: That you are a painter and .... Ah, the lift is here.
(Gesturing to Ms. Majumder to get in first) Please.

Note: When there is no third person, you can introduce yourself by saying, “May I introduce myself?” and the answer is, “How do you do?” You can also say “Hello” or “Hi”. 'Hello/Hi!' is more informal than 'How do you do' or 'Pleased/Glad to meet you'. Also notice that men don't use Mr. before their own names, for example, one wouldn't say, “I'm Mr. Zahir Alam.”

Anna's friend Munier has come to Anna's house. They are talking in the living room. Anna's father comes in.
Anna: Dad, I'd like you to meet my friend Munier. Munier, this is my father.
Munier: How do you do, Sir.
Father: How do you do. Please sit down. Are you studying in the same class with Anna, Munier?

Note: When the relationship between two persons is formal they use Mr. Mrs. Miss or Ms. before the names to address each other. Remember Mr. Mrs. Miss. or Ms. go with either the surname, or the full name, not with the first name of a person. Thus, it's Mr. Hossain or Mr. Tanim Hossain, but not Mr. Tanim.

In the same way, it is proper to say Mr. Ahmed, Ms. Khan, Ms. Majumder, and not Mr. Shakil, or Ms. Seema, or Ms. Pushpa. Mrs. is used to mean somebody's wife, for example, if we say Mrs. Fatema Karim, it indicates that she is Karim's wife. If we address her as Mrs. Fatema, to a native speaker of English who is unaware of what we might actually mean, it would mean that she is Fatema's wife.

While Miss. indicates that the woman is unmarried, Ms. (Pronounced as Miz) indicates that the person is a woman without specifying if she is married or not. So, when we don't know whether a woman is married or not, we should use Ms. before her name. Some women prefer to say “I'm Mrs. ______” to indicate whose wives they are. Men don't use Mr. before their own names. When two people know each other well, they address one another by their first names.

Practise the dialogues with your friends. Then try to continue each conversation from where it ends.

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