Mind your Ps and Qs #atozchallenge #poetry


When you were little might have been told

‘with a wagging finger and eyes that scold

“little child be on your best

never your teacher put to the test

mind your manners

be good each day

the letters P and Q a guiding ray”

girl reading



When I was little I remember my aunt (who was a teacher)  telling me to mind my Ps and Qs. The understanding was to mind your manners. So when I looked up the origin to that statement I found an inconclusive but interesting findings from  The Phrase Finder.

1. “Mind your pints and quarts.”  A common practice in an alehouse was to chalk a tally of drinks for each patron. It is also suggested that a bartender might yell “mind your ps and qs” if patrons were getting out of hand.

2. “Advice to printers’ apprentices to avoid confusing the backward-facing metal type lowercase Ps and Qs, or the same advice to children who were learning to write.”

3. Mind your pea (jacket) and queue (wig). Instructions to sailors in the 18th century.

4. “Mind your pieds (feet) and queues (wigs).” This instruction given by French dancing instructors to their students.

5.  ‘advice to children’ origin has it that ‘Ps and Qs’ refers to ‘mind your pleases and thank-yous”.


Do you have the inside track on what this saying means?

Some fantastic A to Z bloggers to enjoy this week:


7 thoughts on “Mind your Ps and Qs #atozchallenge #poetry

  1. I laughed when I read your poem. I remember those were the exact words my mom used to say, I was very outspoken in the house my mom was afraid I might do the same outside home, but you know what my teachers thought I was a very well mannered kid. 🙂


  2. Nifty, Moonie_!
    __I remember Ps and Qs as being… Pints and Quarts, but I thought it was ‘dairy’
    measurements. Pub, huh? We learn something every day.

    Mind your insulting Pomposities and Qusetions. _M


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