Advice on manners and morals.
Dec. 24 1998 3:30 AM

(Continued from Page 1)

Thought you'd like to know the latest.

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--Two Hands Clapping in Manhattan

Dear Two,

Prudie, like you, is watching these developments with fascination. Perhaps, if successful, Mr. Fishbein might take the Slate staff to dinner--and you, too, of course.

--Prudie, mischievously

Dear Prudie,

Perhaps you backed down a bit too quickly with Mike regarding the "Have a nice day" silliness. This offends almost as much as that other staple, "How are you?"--my retort to which is usually "Do you have half an hour?"

How am I? Well, perhaps you wish to hear about my problems, but I don't think so. I find such linguistic tics simply sloppy semantics.

--Careful in Washington, carefully

Dear Care,

Prudie is grateful for your linguistic support, though on the question of what is required by the question "How are you?" she is more forgiving. Perhaps because her mother taught her years ago that "How are you?" is a greeting, not a question.