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Politeness theory is the idea that there are two types of face

Politeness theory is the idea that there are two types of face, positive or negative. Face is the public image we want others to see of us, how we project ourselves to others. When someone is showing positive face during communication they are desiring for those they are communicating with to be appreciated, respected and approved. We use positive face when we pay someone a compliment or thanking someone after they have helped you. Negative face is when we want to communicate with someone without impeding on them. We use negative face if we need to interrupt a conversation, but use terms such as “excuse me” and “sorry for interrupting”. There are also face threatening acts that we are all guilty of engaging in at some point. Face threatening acts can impact both positive and negative face. It is when someone criticizes us or threatens us or when we have to apologize to someone.