assist you with every little 'trifle'

Discussion in 'English Only' started by moravec, Sep 21, 2011.

  1. moravec New Member

    "I quickly noticed that Korea is different from America in many ways. One being that Koreans are most often more polite and reserved than American people. This is especially noticeable when you walk into a retail store or restaurant. The employees are always exceedingly polite and respectful, and act as if they are more than happy to assist you with every little trifle that you desire."

    In this context, why is the word trifle a poor word choice? It was indicated as such by my professor in her notations.
  2. GreenWhiteBlue

    GreenWhiteBlue Senior Member

    The City of New York
    USA - English
    If this is a comment by your professor, wouldn't it make more sense to ask her, rather than us, why she said this?
  3. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    American English
    If you check the WR dictionary for trifle, you'll find: a thing of little value or importance. Unless that's what the shop is selling, it doesn't seem appropriate to me, either. Perhaps you can explain what you want it to mean.
  4. Fabulist Banned

    Annandale, Virginia, USA
    American English
    It would be appropriate if you mean that the store staff are overlyl polite to the point of obsequiousness because they try to help you with very slight or minor things that you could do for yourself. Some shoppers—like me—find it annoying to be pounced on by salesmen the minute we walk into a store. Others might feel like they are under surveillance. So if you think that what they are trying to help you with are things that you don't need or want help with, you could call them "trifles."
  5. moravec New Member

    Is it really such an "obvious contradiction"? They are reserved in the sense that it takes them a long time to abandon formalities - not necessarily in a reticent sense of the word.

    Thanks for the replies so far. I now understand why "trifle" is inappropriate.

    As a side-note: Before I had written "...and act as if they are more than happy to assist you on your every whim", but she dismissed this as a euphuism (I think this is what she called it) and advised me to rephrase it.

    Edit: As for why I'm not asking my professor these questions... For some strange reason she dislikes technology and does not want us to e-mail her. (She's not even that old. Could possibly be in her 30s still.) I thought I'd post them here because I wanted to receive answers asap since I have another assignment due next class.
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2011

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