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"Alstublieft," an elegant Dutch word and social custom

While one may celebrate or decry the English language's lack of polite-vs.-formal grammar constructions, it's hard not to regret the lack of a form of "alstublieft," once you know how it functions.

The English "cognate," which is either "here you go" or "here you are," is a purely idiomatic formulation. In other words, the phrases make sense only by convention. And they're awkward. There is no way to use either of these phrases with any sense of formality or in proper show of respect.

Alstublieft, in comparison, is immaculate. It's polite, it's complete, and it's always respectful. It's elegant.

"If it may please you," the waiter says, placing the cup onto the table in front of you. There's nothing more to be said.


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