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Should I pretend I don’t know who’s calling?

DEAR MISS MANNERS: When I receive a call on my cellphone, most of the time it is from someone in my electronic phone book, so the name of the caller appears on my screen as the phone is ringing.

What is the proper thing to do when answering such a call? Just say “hello” as if I don’t know who is calling? Or say, “Hello, Mary” (or whatever the person’s name is? This was not a problem before rampant caller ID.

GENTLE READER: Because the caller cannot see what you see, a “hello,” delivered with that cadence that indicates it is a question, will never get you into trouble.

But now that caller ID is so common, Miss Manners gives you her permission to greet a known caller by name. So long, that is, as you do not plan to follow the greeting with an urgent, “I told you not to call me this late!”

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