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|This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (June 2010)|
In sociology, manners are the unenforced standards of conduct which demonstrate that a person is proper, caring, non-grouchy, polite, and refined. They are like laws in that they codify or set a standard for human behavior, but they are unlike laws in that there is no formal system for punishing transgressions, the main informal "punishment" being social disapproval. They are a kind of norm. What is considered "mannerly" is highly susceptible to change with time, geographical location, social stratum, occasion, and other factors. That manners matter is evidenced by the fact that large books have been written on the subject, advice columns frequently deal with questions of mannerly behavior, and that schools have existed for the sole purpose of teaching manners. A lady is a term frequently used for a woman who follows proper manners; the term gentleman is used as a male counterpart; though these terms are also often used for members of a particular social class.