Difference Between Etiquette and Manners

Etiquette vs Manners

Although people talk about etiquette and manners in the same breath, as if they are synonyms, there is some difference between them. Of course, both etiquette and manners are there in every society. These are considered as vital for the functioning of a society. In different societies, there is a variety of etiquette and manners. Even though both play a significant role in controlling human behavior in accordance with social standards, etiquette and manners are not the same. They are different from one another. Etiquette refers to the code of polite behavior in society. Manners, on the other hand, refer to the way of behaving, speaking and living in accordance with the expected patterns of behavior. When paying attention to the definitions they appear quite similar. But the difference lies in etiquette being a particular code of conduct, unlike manners. Through this article let us examine the differences between etiquette and manners.

What is Etiquette?

Etiquette refers to the code of polite behavior in society. Unlike manners, etiquette is a specific code of behavior. Etiquette is considered as the superior of the two as it goes beyond the understanding of manners. However, if a person has no manners, one cannot expect him to have etiquette. This is because it is on the foundation of good manners that etiquette is being nurtured. Unlike manners, in order to learn etiquette, one must make a conscious effort.

For example, in order to have an understanding of behaving at a particular function or knowing which fork or spoon to use, the person has to learn it.

Difference Between Etiquette and Manners

One has to learn dining etiquette

Etiquette allows individuals to behave in special situations in a socially approved and cultured manner by being respective as well as sensitive to the situation and also other individuals. People attend finishing schools and read special material to gain more knowledge about etiquette.

What are Manners?

Manners are polite behavior. These types of behavior are rather general. From childhood onwards children are taught good manners by parents and also in schools. This highlights the importance given to good manners within the societal context. As the child grows, he internalizes good manners that then become a part of their behavior. For example:

Saying ‘Thank you’ after receiving something, saying ‘please’ when requesting something, saying ‘sorry’ one you have hurt someone, respecting elders are all manners that are taught to children at a very small age.

When an individual displays good manners, he is considered as a well brought up person. This highlights that Etiquette and manners are not the same but refer to two different things.

 Etiquette vs Manners

What is the difference between Etiquette and Manners?

• Etiquette refers to the code of polite behavior in society whereas Manners refer to the way of behaving, speaking and living in accordance with the expected patterns of behavior.

• Manners are more generalized, unlike etiquette that dictate a specific code of conduct.

• Individuals learn manners from childhood through instruction and socialization, but etiquette has to be specially learned.

• It is manners that lay the foundation for an individual whereby the individual progresses by learning etiquette.


Images Courtesy:

  1. Dining etiquette  by KillerChihuahua (CC BY-SA 3.0)
  2. Table manners via Wikicommons (Public Domain)