Miss Manners by Judith Martin, Nicholas Ivor Martin and Jacobina Martin

Lipstick Vs. Cloth Napkins

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have two very dear friends who do not know each other, but they both have the very annoying habit of correcting my “mistakes,” such as how I pronounce the name of a foreign city, official or other word.

We have all had at least 16 years of education in this country, in distinctly different areas of study, and yet they are the grammar and culture experts, it seems.

Neither is the kind of person who does this to undermine or to show off, but I am annoyed and offended by their compulsion to correct me. I would never do this to them, but on occasion they have been incorrect in what they said.

Do you have a polite and inoffensive way I could convey my displeasure with their behavior without “correcting” them?

GENTLE READER: Blame a third party. “Funny, I have never heard it pronounced bru-shetta, but I am sure you must be right. Let’s have our waiter settle it. He’s Italian.”

(Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, dearmissmanners@gmail.com; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)