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The information below was published in some newspaper in Chinese in China, and now it
needs to be confirmed by you (native English speakers)

1) You cannot say some one is fat, even when in his back, because it is offensive,
So when you have to refer to someone's weight, you'd better say "she's a little heavy."

2) Using "tough neighborhood" instead of "bad neighborhood".
Because "bad neighborhood" can be suspected as involving class discrimination.

3) Using :"the people living under welfare" instead of "poor people".

4) You cannot say to a (pretty) woman like this:

The dress fits you very well.
Otherwise, you might be considered as acting "sexual harassment".
Especially when a woman dressed in loose clothes, saying "The dress fits you very well' would sounds very offensive.

But if you really want to praise a pretty woman's dressing, "Nice dress" is enough.
Comments  
These all sound American to me. Are you interested in what is acceptable in America or Britain, as they will differ?
Yes, I would like to know the difference between.
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
I'm not an authority on what is acceptable in America but in Britain:

1) Fat. Well, to comment one someone's weight at all is rude, unless it is someone you have a close relationship with and you know they won't be offended. 'Heavy' is more american I think. If we really had to say something on the subjext, we might say they look 'healthy', or 'big built'. After putting on weight I was told I looked 'contented!'

2) bad neighbourhood suggest that the people living there are bad. How about difficult neighbourhood, deprived neighbourhood, run-down neighbourhood. It would be hard to describe these sorts of areas without offending the people who live there.

3) the people living under welfare" instead of "poor people". 'Welfare' is striclty American. Use 'low-income family' in Britain.

4) You cannot say to a (pretty) woman like this:
The dress fits you very well.
Otherwise, you might be considered as acting "sexual harassment".
Especially when a woman dressed in loose clothes, saying "The dress fits you very well' would sounds very offensive.

Strange to comment on the fit of a dress at all and I think you have it reversed above, saying that loose clothes fit well sounds as though you are being sarcastic/taking the mickey and that they look awful, whereas saying that tight clothes 'fit well' comes across as a bit lecherous! How their clothes fit someone is not a normal compliment in Britain.

'Nice dress' is ok in Britain, or 'you look very smart today'.

And sexual harassment does not depend on whether the victim is pretty or not. The same things are complimentary/offensive/irrelevant/whatever to all people.

A lot depends on context though. I like a compliment from my boyfriend but I do not expect my work colleagues to pass any comment on my appearance...if you wouldn't go up to a male colleague and say 'nice suit' why comment on the womens clothing? At a wedding for example though, it is very polite and positive to compliment the women 'what a lovely outfit!', 'I love the colour of your dress', whatever.
Curiously, women can (and do) compliment other women on their physical
appearance at work.

Women at all levels are permitted to 'smarten up' for important meetings. It is
not considered appropriate for a male colleague to mention this fact ("I see
you're wearing lipstick for this important meeting"); though a female
colleague may comment on a previously unseen garment. Purchasing
details may be exchanged, even between female colleagues of
unequal status.

Low-status female operatives may show tanned parts of their bodies to
other low-status female operatives after a holiday. I'm not sure whether
senior female colleagues ever do this. It may happen behind closed
doors.

Female colleagues may comment on a male colleague's tie. Sometimes the
tie in question is handled. The significance of this has always escaped me. No
other item of male attire may safely be commented on (or handled).

Male colleagues, on the other hand, never compliment each other on physical
appearance, garb, or tan. It goes without saying that we never touch each
other's ties.

MrP
Too true!

And, perhaps I am 'low status' then, but I used to work with a woman who became my best friend and we can't stop comparing bits of our bodies. We used to go out for a smoking break into a secluded area of a warehouse and usually got something or other out (don't get carried away, toes were a particular fascination at one point! Once the Managing Director walked past as we were both grabbing each others flabby tummies and just gave us a very looooong look, shrugged and walked off.

I think women are generally more 'touchy-feely' than men and we don't feel so threatened by each other. It is quite ok for women friends to share a bed (if really necessary) here but two male friends would never share!

the reason you should not comment when someone has made a special effort for a meeting (extra make-up or so on) is because it can come across as a criticism of their usual look.
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
Perhaps I am 'low status' then...

I'm not sure the usual rules apply in the freemasonry of the smokers'
huddle.

All there are on the level.

Mr