All posts by Houling Liu

Manners: A Glimpse of British Culture

Different countries have different it is manners.During the three months’ study in Brighton,our classmates experienced what is called culture shock.Because it was so diifferent from what we have in our own country.At first we may find it difficult to accustomed to the differences,but gradually we can adjust ourselves well to the completely new environment.In this blog ,Cathy.Joanna.Jane and Jamie took  a glimpse of one aspect of  British culure:manners.We  collaboratively  work on this culture blog .We interviewed native speakers as well as reflected on our own experience.By comparing the manners in Britain with our own,we learnt a lot.


Modern manners: queuing.

In the UK, wherever there is a mass of people you will find an orderly queue. British etiquette dictates that when you arrive, you join the back of the queue so that each person receives the service in the order that they arrived. We wait our turn’ in queues. The notion of an orderly queue relies on everyone in the queue agreeing that this is fair. It is seen as unfair if someone doesn’t join the queue and pushes in.

Queuing can seem very strange if you are not used to it however if you are seen to ‘push in’ it is considered very rude and unfair to other people who have been waiting. If in doubt ask “is this the back of the queue?” to avoid offending anyone.

A common British trait is that despite everybody in the queue being annoyed with someone who has pushed in, very few people will ask that person to go to the back of the queue.  British people do not like to cause a scene by arguing, but likewise, we like people to know we are annoyed in subtle ways.  Instead people will shake their head, roll their eyes, or have an angry facial expression.  They may also complain to the person next to them in the queue.Does the same situation happen in China? No, because from the picture on the right we can observe  that situation in China. Although it is not always but it happens often.


Many people from China find it strange that we say please and thank you as much as English people do. What may surprise you is when you are in a shop, restaurant or anywhere we are receiving customer service, people hardly thank you to the person serving us e.g.

Recently, I was standing in a queue for an automatic cash machine at a station; there were a dozen of us in a long line  of the counter of supermarket  , but no one was queuing at the next-door. I was surprised by their patience and politeness .

Eventually, ateenage girl came along chatting on her phone and, oblivious to all the preceding


Instantly, half of our queue looked at the girl with different expressions on their faces. I noticed, to observe the order in which they had been lining up before. At the same time, though, three or four people ,including myself, stayed resolutely put in our original queue, unwilling to engage in such petty advantage-seeking. After all, some of us still have standards.