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'Manners Makyth Man': the motto of New College School, Oxford

In sociology, manners are the unenforced standards of conduct which show the actor that you are proper, polite, and refined. They are like laws in that they codify or set a standard for human behavior, but they are unlike laws in that there is no formal system for punishing transgressions, other than social disapproval. They are a kind of norm. What is considered "mannerly" is highly susceptible to change with time, geographical location, social stratum, occasion, and other factors. That manners matter is evidenced by the fact that large books have been written on the subject, advice columns frequently deal with questions of mannerly behavior, and that schools have existed for the sole purpose of teaching manners. A lady is a term frequently used for a woman who follows proper manners; the term gentleman is used as a male counterpart; though these terms are also often used for members of a particular social class.

See also


  • Truss, Lynn (Nov. 14, 2005). "Don't be so rude". New Straits Times, p. L12–L13.

Further reading

  • New Manners for New Times: A Complete Guide to Etiquette, by Letitia Baldrige, New York: Scribner, 2003, ISBN 0-7432-1062-X, 709 pages.
  • Manners from Heaven: A Divine Guide to Good Behaviour, by Quentin Crisp, HarperCollins Publishers (June 13, 1985), ISBN 0-00-654133-X, 138 pages.
  • Town & Country Modern Manners: The Thinking Person's Guide to Social Graces, edited by Thomas P. Farley, Hearst Books (September 2005), ISBN 1-58816-454-3, 256 pages.
  • Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior, by Judith Martin, W. W. Norton & Company; Updated edition (April 20, 2005), ISBN 0-393-05874-3, 864 pages.
  • Emily Post's Etiquette, by Peggy Post, HarperResource; 17th Indxd edition (November 1, 2004), ISBN 0-06-620957-9, 896 pages. Available online at Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics and at Home.