Etiquette and manners are both critical to functioning in society. While both of these concepts involve rules of behavior, they are slightly different, and they involve different types of skills. They also vary from culture to culture, as standards of conduct are heavily based on cultural tradition and heritage. The primary distinction between etiquette and manners is that the first includes specific rules of conduct, while the other is more generalized.
Manners involve general behavioral guidelines, such as treating the elderly with respect and courtesy. Etiquette is a specific code of behavior, with an example of etiquette being knowledge of the proper mode of address for a queen, which is, incidentally “Your Majesty.” In some societies, people regard etiquette as elitist and unnecessarily refined, but this is actually not the case. Many of the rules of etiquette are already practiced by people with good manners, and a demonstration of familiarity with etiquette and manners will mark someone as cultured, polite company.
People are typically taught manners from a very young age, so that they grow up accustomed to the basic rules of conduct about appropriate behavior in social situations. Children learn, for example, that it is not polite to stare, to make personal comments, or to cast aspersions upon the selection of food at a dinner. In childhood, people usually absorb lessons about how to treat others and how to behave in a variety of situations. Manners often become second nature when they are taught at a young age.