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Greek quiz: how to sound more polite Posted by on Dec 16, 2018 in Quizzes

Γεια σας! It has been a long time since we had a quiz, so in this post there is a quiz on the use of the politeness form. In Greek, we use the second plural person of the verb to address people we don’t know or someone older than us . We can also use the words μήπως (perhaps), παρακαλώ (please) and μπορώ (I can).  When we want people to do something for us, it is better to use Υποτακτική (Subjunctive Mood), instead of the Imperative.  Sometimes, when talking to our friends, we use diminutives in order to sound less demanding.From questions 1-10 choose the form which seems more polite to you. Only one option (α or β ) is correct.

 

By Alexas_Fotos via Pixabay

#1. You want your friend Yorgos to make you a coffee.

α. Ρε συ Γιώργο, φτιάξε μου έναν καφέ!

β. Γιώργο, μου φτιάχνεις ένα καφεδάκι;

Σωστή απάντηση

Τhe correct answer is β. Καφεδάκι is a diminutive for καφέ and it the use of it makes us sound more friendly.

 

#2. You need to find a pharmacy and you are asking a passer-by if they know where the pharmacy is.

α. Κύριε! Υπάρχει κανένα φαρμακείο εδώ κοντά;

β. Συγγνώμη, μήπως ξέρετε αν υπάρχει κανένα φαρμακείο εδώ κοντά;

Σωστή απάντηση

Τhe correct answer is β. The first one is too direct.

 

#3. You have finished your meal and you want to ask the waitress to bring you the bill.

α. Μπορείτε να μου φέρετε το λογαριασμό, παρακαλώ;

β. Κοπελιά, να πληρώσω;

Σωστή απάντηση

The correct answer is α. Can you bring me the bill, please? Κοπελιά means “gal”. In some contexts the phrase β would be ok too. However, if you are not sure, it is better to be polite.

 

#4. You want to talk to your friend’s mother about something important and you are asking her if she has a minute to talk.

α. Κυρία Ελένη, έχετε ένα λεπτάκι;

β. Κυρία Ελένη, ελάτε να σας πω κάτι που θέλω.

Σωστή απάντηση

α. Literally, it means “Mrs Eleni, do you have a (small) minute?
Λεπτάκι is a diminutive for λεπτό and its use make the request less direct.

 

#5. You are in the train. A young woman is sitting next to you and is eating cookies. You haven’t eaten anything all day and you think it wouldn’t be a problem if you asked her to give you one cookie.

α. Με συγχωρείτε, μου δίνετε ένα μπισκότο;

β. Με συγχωρείτε, να σας ζητήσω ένα μπισκοτάκι;

Σωστή απάντηση

The correct answer is β.
I know the context seems really strange but it could happen in Greece, even though it is not something that happens every day. The phrase means “Excuse-me, can I ask for a (small) cookie?”

 

#6. You want to book a table and you call the restaurant.

α. Γεια σας. Θα ήθελα να κλείσω ένα τραπέζι για δύο άτομα.

β. Ναι, ένα τραπέζι για δύο άτομα, θέλω.

Σωστή απάντηση

The correct answer is α. and it means “Hello. I would like to book a table for two people”.

 

#7. You think your friend is wrong.

α. Κάνεις λάθος.

β. Νομίζω ότι δεν έχεις δίκιο.

Σωστή απάντηση

β. I think you are not right.
You can use the first sentence if you are irritated. It means “you’re wrong”.

 

#8. A Greek friend is calling you but you are busy and cannot speak with them.

α. Δεν μπορώ να σου μιλήσω τώρα. Θα τα πούμε αργότερα.

β. Συγγνώμη, δεν μπορώ να μιλήσω τώρα. Να τα πούμε αργότερα;

Σωστή απάντηση

The correct answer is β. It means “Sorry, I cannot speak right now. Can we talk later?”
The first one sounds too abrupt.

 

#9. You are practicing your Greek and your friend speaks very fast. You are asking them to repeat what they said.

α. Δεν κατάλαβα. Τι είπες;

β. Δεν κατάλαβα. Μήπως  μπορείς να επαναλάβεις αυτό που είπες;

Σωστή απάντηση

The right answer is β.
The use of μήπως makes the question more polite. The sentence means “I don’t understand. (I didn’t get this). Perhaps you can repeat what you said?

 

#10. You want to use the phone.

α. Μήπως έχετε τηλέφωνο; Θέλω να κάνω ένα τηλεφώνημα.

β. Μήπως μπορώ να κάνω ένα τηλεφώνημα, σας παρακαλώ;

Σωστή απάντηση

β. sounds less direct than α.

α. (Perhaps) you have a phone? I want to make a phone call.
β. (Perhaps) I can make a phone call, please?

 

By Nasalune via Pixabay

 

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About the Author: Ourania

Ourania lives in Athens. She holds a degree in French Literature and a Master’s degree in Special Education for Children. Since 2008, she has been teaching Greek to foreigners.