Originally created 05/21/06

Word choice at work is best kept professional

Dear Carson: Could you please help me with a dispute my husband and I are having over the use of the word "hell"?

My husband owns a construction company, and much more obscene words are spoken on job sites than are on a daily basis at other places.

The other day, my husband used the word "hell" when speaking on the phone with a new customer.

I said that I felt he should be careful when using that word, especial in a business setting, because it might offend a customer or a potential customer.

He says that the word is not a curse word, because it is a place.

He also feels that no one is offended by its use anymore and that if they are offended they are just stuffy and prudish.

My opinion is that it is a curse word when used in any context other than when you are speaking of hell the place.

Is "hell" still considered a curse word or am I just an old and stuffy prude?

Please answer soon, because a huge argument is brewing over this topic. - Old Stuffy Prude

Dear Prude: I am with you on being certain that you know to whom you speak and think you can accurately gauge whether they might be offended by the use of that word. Admittedly, construction sites are rough and the work there is heavy and grueling.

The use of such words as "damn" and "hell" is more understandable in this milieu than it would be at an afternoon tea or a church supper.

In my opinion, you gave your husband sound business, cautionary advice.

Dear Carson: I am attending a small restaurant opening next week. Do I bring something? - Opening Overture

Dear O: Not to my knowledge, but if you are so moved, you could send flowers or a plant. I would simply bring an enthusiastic appetite and an appreciative attitude.

Dear Carson: My daughter and I received a shower invitation for a woman having her third baby in quick succession. Does limiting the gift selection to two items make this correct?

The hostess list also includes a relative of the bride. Both of these seem incorrect.

My sister received a wedding announcement, just as an invitation was received.

She doesn't know what to make of it. Is a gift required? Why would you send an announcement right before the wedding? - Guessing Guest

Dear Guest: I don't know what to make of these inappropriate invitations, either. A gift is not required for an engagement announcement.

One doesn't give a baby shower but one time for a baby of the same family.

Relatives of an honoree should never, never hold a shower of any kind.

Wedding or engagement announcements are sent out in advance (as in months) of a wedding invitation.

Write to Ask Carson, The Augusta Chronicle, P.O. Box 1928, Augusta, GA 30903-1928. Send e-mail to askcarson@comcast.net. Carson Elliott's web site is www.theproperthing.com.


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