The phrase "please do the needful" in Indian English can come across as rude to American English speakers, possibly because it's an indirect, rather than direct request. It's apparently considered polite in India, however.

In the Portuguese of Portugal and Brazil, would an indirect request like

Não tenho o seu documento. Por favor, resolva isso.

be considered polite or rude? Would something more direct like

Não tenho o seu documento. Por favor, me envie uma cópia.

be considered better or worse?


2 Answers 2


Let's translate the phrases to English:

I don't have your document. Please, solve that.

I don't have your document. Please, send me a copy.

First, which one is or is not rude (or even both or none of them) heavily depends on their context.

However, being contextless or imagining some typical likely context for that, I think that even in English the first form is more likely to be unfriendly than the second. I don't think that "rude" is the best word for that, "unfriendly" seems to be a better fit.

Anyway, the "unfriendlyness" seems to be carried over between the translation.


I think the second one is better. The first one seems like the orator made a mistake and is now mandating that I fix it, which is rather rude. The second one sounds more like "I made a mistake; can you help me fix it?"; even though the orator is still asking that I do it, he is not enforcing it.

Even if the orator as in fact not made any mistake, but I have, it is just rude to demand that I do it.

  • Is this only because I used "resolver"? Would another word (maybe "tratar"?) change that?
    – Dan Getz
    Jul 16, 2015 at 22:55
  • Nah, I don't think so; I think it holds in general Jul 16, 2015 at 23:00

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