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AMERICAN CULTURE TIPS

What should you do in this situation?

You are eating delicious potatoes at an American's house. When you are finished eating the potatoes, the American asks you if you want more.

You do want more, but what should you say? Choose one:
a) Say "no" twice, and after they ask you a third time, say "yes."
b) Say "no thanks" with a smile, and hope they know you mean "yes."
c) Hold out your plate.
d) Say "yes, please."

The correct answer is the last one--d. It is best to say clearly if you want something or if you don't. For instance, if you don't want more potatoes, you would say, "No, thank you." C is not a correct answer because it is considered bad manners to hold out your plate without saying anything.

Five Things You Should Not Say to Someone:
“You’re fat.”
“You’re very big.”
“You’ve gained weight.”
“You must have a lot of money.”
“You’re a redneck.”

Also, never make comments about someone’s physical features. For instance, do not say, “Your nose is big,” or “Your skin is so brown,” or “Your arms are small, but your legs are really wide,” accompanied with gestures, as if you're showing the person how big or small they are.

Five Things You Should Not Ask Someone:
“Who did you vote for?”
“How much do you make?”
"Does your husband/wife make a lot of money?"
"Why aren't you married?"
"Why don't you have children?"

Five Things to Know about American Culture:


1)    The individual is important. For instance, if someone has a choice of activities, they will choose whatever is best for them; they want to do what will benefit them the most.

2)    Independence is strength. It is a part of U.S. history, such as the American Revolution and the Declaration of Independence. A strong person is considered someone who is self-reliant, free of others’ expectations and rules.

3)    Women are considered equal. Do not be condescending towards them or assume that they can’t do something. Also, do not leer at them or make comments about their bodies.

4)    A multicultural society requires flexibility. Because Americans come from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, you have to be sensitive to these differences and understand that there isn’t just one “right” way to behave.

5)    Respect people’s space. If someone does not want to go somewhere with you or if they want to be alone, respect their decision. Don’t pressure them to conform to your expectations.


Take the American Culture Quiz.