I’m often asked “What’s the difference between Manners and Etiquette.”
The English gentleman in the photo above, etiquette expert William Hanson, is showing the proper/improper way to hold a teacup.
In the photo on the left, he’s demonstrating how to hold the teacup in the proper way. A handled teacup is held with the index finger through the handle, the thumb just above it to support the grip, and the second finger below the handle for added security. The next two fingers follow the curve of the other fingers.
In the photo on the right, Mr. Hanson is a demonstrating an etiquette faux pas by extending his pinky finger while holding the teacup. It is considered an affection to raise the little finger, even slightly.
Etiquette is the rules of correct and polite behavior in society (knowing how to treat people). Etiquette is a French word from yesterday for today--"little sign." In the 17th century, King Louis XIV had a magnificent chateau with beautiful gardens and parks all around it. Often, when he hosted parties, people would walk all over the grass, pick the flowers, wade in the fountains, and leave litter behind. They didn’t have formal gardens at their own houses and didn’t know how to behave. The head gardener went to the King in great distress and asked what he could do to keep things nicer. They decided to put up "little signs" all over the place:
~Keep on the paths
~Enjoy the flowers, but please don’t pick them
~Stay out of the fountains
~Please don’t litter
Etiquette still is simply a collection of "little signs" to guide us in all situations.
Good Manners are simply doing your best to follow the rules of etiquette (how your treat people). So, you should never point someone out for commiting an etiquette faux pas.