Q: As my child is getting older and I am trying to instill good manners, I have a question regarding the polite response to a person sneezing. The German “gesundheit” speaks of wishes to good health. In the U.S. we use “Bless you” or “God bless you.” Is there a polite response to a sneeze in the U.S. that doesn’t involve God or blessing?
A: You can use the traditional German response, or simply say “Bless you” without including God. Blessings come in many forms and don’t necessarily invoke God’s name. This may be more comfortable for you if you don’t wish to use the word God.