12 phrases only classy and sophisticated people use, according to psychology

You can tell a lot about a person from the way they speak.

Language can reflect a person’s character, upbringing, and social status.

But beyond that, it can determine how others treat us in return.

Someone who speaks and acts in a sophisticated way oozes grace and elegance, which makes people respect them and want to listen to what they have to say.

Yet, someone who lacks manners and grace struggles to gain respect from others and be taken seriously.

So, if you want to have a more powerful influence in social interactions, learn to speak with class.


By adopting the following 12 phrases that only classy and sophisticated people use.

1) “It’s a pleasure to meet you”

Thanks to their elegant choice of words, classy people make a good first impression immediately after meeting someone new.

One of the first things a classy person might say to you is, “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

Originating from Old English, where “pleasure” denoted satisfaction or delight, this phrase embodies warmth and courtesy in introductions. 

Its roots trace back to the notion of mutual enjoyment in social encounters, reflecting a shared appreciation for human connection. 

Psychologically, it fosters positive rapport by affirming the value of the encounter and setting a pleasant tone for interaction.

2) “Pardon me”

“Pardon me” is a polite way to:

  • Request forgiveness or permission
  • Get someone’s attention 
  • Ask for clarification without sounding rude or intrusive

It is also associated with the older generations.

This is because the phrase dates back to medieval England. It is derived from the Old French word “pardoner,” meaning to forgive.

“Pardon me” epitomizes more humility and remorse in communication than the more commonly used “excuse me.”

It is also one of the many ways sophisticated people demonstrate their emotional intelligence and maintain harmony in social exchanges.

Remember, classy people will never bluntly interrupt another person. 

If they want to express a point, they will wait for you to finish talking and then preface their statement with “Pardon me,” showing courtesy and respect for the other person. 

3) “Please, allow me”

Classy people use phrases like “Please allow me” to request permission or assistance elegantly.

Traditionally, people would use this phrase to honor social hierarchies. 

But today, it showcases politeness and respect as it acknowledges the other person’s authority while affirming your own abilities. 

By employing this phrase, classy people convey their respect for others’ authority or expertise while maintaining their dignity.

It also shows that they don’t assume someone wants or needs their help. By saying, ‘Please, allow me,’ they give the other person a chance to politely reject their offer if they wish.

Here’s another phrase that sophisticated people use when they don’t want to assume something…

4) “Shall we?”

Let’s say you are out to dinner with someone. You’ve finished your meal and paid the check, and the other person says, ‘Let’s go.’

This phrase is more of a command than a suggestion, so by saying “let’s go,” the other person shuts down any option for mutual agreement.

That’s why many classy people will say, “Shall we go?” instead, emphasizing cooperation.

While both phrases may mean the same thing, “shall we” promotes a sense of joint ownership. 

Thus, it fosters inclusivity and makes people more willing to give input.

5) “Allow me to clarify”

Sophisticated people value precision in communication, so they will ensure that others understand their instructions or views.

They will preface their explanations with “Allow me to clarify,” showcasing their clarity of thought and attentiveness to comprehension.

Classy people may use this phrase to communicate their point respectfully or to diffuse potential conflict. 

For example, the sentence “I understand why you’re concerned, but please allow me to clarify the situation” acknowledges the other person’s concerns while asking permission to explain yourself.

This makes the other person more likely to hear you out and increases the likelihood of mutual agreement. 

6) “I appreciate your insight”

Sophisticated people make an effort to express their gratitude for others’ contributions.

However, they do so with humility, using phrases like “I appreciate your insight” to demonstrate their openness to diverse perspectives. 

Psychology shows that expressing gratitude strengthens emotional intelligence, which is something classy people possess. 

By telling someone they appreciate their insight, a sophisticated individual fosters a culture of collaboration and mutual respect.

Someone who uses this phrase demonstrates a receptivity to new ideas and their ability to nurture intellectual exchange.

But what if they don’t agree with the other person’s ideas or beliefs?

In that case, they will voice their disagreement gracefully by using the following phrase…

7) “I beg to differ”

You might wonder why a sophisticated person would use the word ‘beg,’ which has a negative connotation in the 21st century.

Well, if you look at the history of this word, you will see why…

The word “beg,” derived from Old English and Middle French, was traditionally used to make requests. 

Thus, this phrase signifies respectful disagreement, where you kindly ask the other person to listen to your opinion. This encourages a healthy exchange of diverse viewpoints.

8) “With all due respect”

Sophisticated people voice their disagreement in an incredibly diplomatic way to avoid it escalating into conflict.

So, they will use phrases like “With all due respect” to preface any potentially controversial statements. 

This phrase balances assertiveness with tact, allowing you to express your opinions while maintaining civility. 

Because of this, classy people can foster constructive discussions without them getting too heated.

9) “I sincerely apologize”

Taking accountability for your actions and expressing remorse is the basis of emotional intelligence.

So, if a classy person wants to apologize for something, they likely won’t give you a mere “sorry.”

Instead, they express their regret with sincerity and accountability by using phrases like “I sincerely apologize.”

This phrase reflects the traditional cultural norms of honor and integrity in acknowledging wrongdoing while facilitating reconciliation and repairing social bonds.

10) “If you’ll excuse me”

If a classy person needs to excuse themselves from a conversation or social gathering, they will do so with courtesy, grace, and tact, starting the sentence with “If you’ll excuse me.” 

Rather than non-classy people who bluntly state their needs, such as “Sorry, I need to go to the toilet,” a sophisticated person will say, “If you’ll excuse me, I need to use the restroom.”

By employing this phrase, they convey more respect and discretion in taking leave.

The phrase dates back to Middle English, where “excuse” implied pardon or forgiveness. Its historical usage reflects social etiquette and respect for others’ time and space. 

11) “Perhaps”

Although I don’t see myself as super classy, I’ve always liked using the word “perhaps.”

And I remember once, when I casually said it in conversation, the other person commented on how posh I sounded.

The sophistication of this word goes far back, originating from Old English and Latin, where “per” meant “thoroughly” and “haps” referred to a turn of events.

The word “Perhaps” embodies uncertainty and possibility, and while it essentially means the same thing as “maybe,” it certainly sounds more formal.

According to psychology, ‘perhaps’ also conveys a little more possibility than ‘maybe’ as it has a slightly more positive tone.

12) “Per se”

“Per se” is a Latin phrase meaning ‘by itself,’ and it has been used in the English language for centuries.

This phrase underscores the essence or inherent nature of something.

It adds more depth and nuance to a statement and helps the speaker avoid generalizations, which can lead to misunderstandings.

For example, saying “I’m not against the idea per se” shows that while you’re not opposed to something, you don’t completely agree with it.

The phrase highlights that nothing is ‘black or white” by allowing you to single out a particular element of a bigger thing.

Final thoughts

Despite what you may have grown up to believe, sophistication has nothing to do with designer clothes or expensive cars.

In fact, you don’t need lots of money or a reputable job to be classy.

Sophistication is about the way you act and speak—in other words, how you express yourself.

So start by introducing these 12 phrases into your vocabulary and see how people’s reaction to you changes.

Gemma Clarke

I am a certified yoga and mindfulness teacher and an experienced content writer in the spirituality and personal growth space.
I’m passionate about sharing my expertise through the power of
words to inspire and guide others along the path of personal and spiritual development.

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