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Mind your Ps and Qs

East Park gatehouse, Wolverhampton


You can tell a lot about a person from the clothes they wear or even the house they live in, but you can tell more from the words they use.

A man’s character may be learned from the adjectives which he habitually uses in conversation. ― Mark Twain

There are many tell tale signs of what  lies beneath the surface of the outward persona.


People who use the word ‘issues’ and phrases like ‘at the end of the day’ make me suspicious. These words are part of the jargon of social care. Social inclusion isn’t quite so bad. These words come from the politically correct crowd who are well meaning, but often misguided. There are worse people though.

Robust response

People who talk of a robust response to issues are even more suspect. You can identify this clique from their language, but they will often deny being a member of the politically motivated clique.

Bring back the birch!

Yes, this is a phrase used by the hang ‘em and flog ‘em brigade. They don’t even try to understand what motivates people to commit crime  and think there is no excuse. These people tend to be nobodies and never take risks so never do wrong and never amount to much in life.

Name calling

You see name calling in everyday life,  but even journalists resort to name calling too. It’s not just down-market rags like the Daily Mail and the Sun either. Upmarket rags will often refer to strivers and skivers, but in a less direct way.

Name dropping

Mentioning the names of important people or even important brands can make you look sophisticated. It can also make you look shallow. It’s the way you say it and the over-frequent use of the word ‘love’ often indicates a shallow character. You can love a person, but people who ‘love’ chocolate or a brand like Coco Chanel are shallow when it comes to relationships.


The use of a profane word when you have just hit your thumb with a hammer is understandable. If you use profanity in excess in an attempt to express yourself, then you’re simply trying to attract attention. You’re doing the same thing as the woman in the low cut dress or the guy in the sports car. You’re saying look at me, give me attention, because my inner child needs attention. It’s a sign of an immature character…

Can I help you?

Words that express that you’re a contributor to society and a ‘giver’  are acceptable and show maturity. Please and thank you, show that you accept standards of behaviour and want to contribute to a polite society. Words can be positive as well as negative.

What do you think? Can you judge a person’s character from the words that they use? Please share a few words in the comments box. You can also follow me on Twitter.  Do you mind your Ps and Qs?

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