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Saying "Pardon?" or "What?" ??

(68 Posts)
Mandalin Sun 16-Dec-07 05:06:43

I frequent an Australian parenting a forum and I posed the same question. Personally I prefer a politely said "what?" and teach my children the same.

They are all going off their rockers with outrage that I could teach them something so rude and that "Pardon?" or "Pardon me?" is well bred Australian.

I'm sticking to my guns.
I hate "Pardon?", and find it a bit LMC or low brow if you like but then I was brought up in England.

I would love to get your opinions.

OverRated Sun 16-Dec-07 05:14:25

I was brought up to say "Pardon?" but am perfectly happy with a polite, "What?"

I can't stand a rude, abrupt, "Wot?" though which, when I was teaching, the children would often use. I think this is a case of where tone is important - the word 'what' can have a very different meaning, depending on how it is said.

seeker Sun 16-Dec-07 07:07:45

"I beg your pardon?" or "What?" but NEVER "Pardon?"

thegrowlygus Sun 16-Dec-07 07:38:50

It's posh innit, to say "what?"?

bealcain Sun 16-Dec-07 07:41:34

we say what in this house, in fact it was ds1's 3rd word i think, he does say it rather poshly though (if that's possibly) and we get a pardon me if he burps!

seeker Sun 16-Dec-07 07:51:11

Oh yes, I forget to say that "pardon me" os OK. And that the "What?" has to be said politely. Not "WhaaaaaaaTT!" or "Wot?" or "Wha <glottal stop>"

I was brought up to say 'Pardon' (my mum loved the phrase 'It's not WHAT it's pardon?' but having given it some deep thought early on this Sunday morning I now say 'What?'

ChippolataMinton Sun 16-Dec-07 07:55:22

What about "I'm sorry?"?

seeker Sun 16-Dec-07 08:04:47

My parents said "It's not PARDON it's WHAT!"

Which just goes to show how bonkers it all is.

<seeker goes off to beat herself with holly branches repeating"I must not perpetuate the narrow class based cliquy vocabulary of my family of origin. I must celebrate my children's freedom to say pardon, toilet and pleased to meet you.">

InnAFull Sun 16-Dec-07 08:26:54

I say 'pardon', having been told by my own mother it was polite, but my rather better-bred DH thinks it's 'vulgar' and says 'beg your pardon' which his mother told him was polite. And the same sweet old (NOT) MIL once told me that 'I'm sorry?' which I used because she was offended by 'pardon', was very common and marked me out as an ill-bred lowlife from the gutter. My, she was a dear old thing... but I digress.

The whole thing's barking if you ask me.

ChipButty Sun 16-Dec-07 08:30:52

'Pardon?' or 'I beg your pardon?' 'What?' is just plain rude IMO (and I don't care if it spotlights me as being lower class!) grin

tissy Sun 16-Dec-07 08:40:56


It's an abbreviation of "what did you say?"

On a similar vein, if you burp or fart you say, "excuse me"


POOKAingwenceslaslookedout Sun 16-Dec-07 08:47:29

I say "sorry?" or "what". Definitely not pardon.
I know some people find the "sorry" a bit feeble, but "what" can seem a bit, well, short.

AMerryScot Sun 16-Dec-07 08:57:25

Pardon is definitely more polite. My kids tend to say 'excuse me'.

THelesbellsRINGOUTFORCHRISTMAS Sun 16-Dec-07 09:02:48

We say 'sorry' or 'what'. Pardon sounds a bit stilted to use at home.

Magrat Sun 16-Dec-07 09:08:52

Pardon is not polite .. it's just a middle-class affectation .. but is the way I was brought up

So my children say 'what' or 'I'm sorry what did you say?' and when they say it I fight down the urge to say 'It's not what, it's pardon'

Teachers and sisters correct them when they say what .. which leads to lovely long nancy mitford style conversations where I come across as an arse-wipe

<sighs deeply in perplexity>

seeker Sun 16-Dec-07 09:12:07

If you're going by the old fashioned rules of manners - the U, non U thing, then "Pardon" is most definitely wrong and "What?" is right. But, as people say, "What?" does sound ruder than "Pardon" As I said, it just proves how bonkers it is, and I have to suppress my cringe reflex when my children say "Pardon" because I don't want them to be told off for being rude simply because I have what are obviously outdated ideas! Similarly "toilet" and "Pleased to meet you"

MrsBadger Sun 16-Dec-07 09:23:24

I was brought up a pardoner and am now a sorry-whatter

MrsBadger Sun 16-Dec-07 09:24:54

and I have nver heard anyone ever say 'pleased to meet you' hmm

seeker Sun 16-Dec-07 09:30:15

You must move in VERY exalted circles, Mrs Badger!

TrinityTheRedNosedRhino Sun 16-Dec-07 09:32:27

I'mamazed at how differently we can veiw things
tis a rich tapestry
I hate 'what?' it's rude and horrid

Definitely 'Pardon?' is what you say if you dont hear someone.

Magrat Sun 16-Dec-07 09:35:40

I am simply not going to make small children say 'pleased to make your acquaintance'?

much as I will not make them wear knicker-bockers

MrsBadger Sun 16-Dec-07 09:38:45

I just do 'hello' and a smile
or if being formal shanke hands and say 'how do you do'

or even 'how loevly to meet you' if it is lovely

QuintessentialShadowOfSnowball Sun 16-Dec-07 09:45:53

I will keep an eye on this, as a foreigner it is actually quite confusing. But maybe the same politeness and nicety will not be expected of me? But it will of my children.

My 2 1/2 year old says please and thank you and Excuse me if he farts/burps, etc.

I either say "sorry I didnt get that" if I cant hear, or I say, "I beg you pardon". Excuse me please if I need to get to something and somebody is in the way.

Once when I did NOT say please after excuse me, I learnt that this can provoke some really rude responses. So, here I am, trying to get a space in the queue to get to something a shelf on the other side of the queue, said "Excuse me", and the man lifted an eyebrow and said "Excuse me please.

I dont know what is more rude, omitting a please after excuse me, or correcting a stranger for the way she speaks.....
The mind boggles.

seeker Sun 16-Dec-07 09:50:30

Mine say "How do you do?" or "Hello"

They also shake hands

<seeker rushes to hide the knickerbockers......>

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