Making Polite Requests in English with Examples

Making Polite Requests in English with Examples

Making Polite Requests in English with Examples is one post that discusses how to make polite requests in English with related examples.

Remember the ‘no man is an island’ age long maxim? This restates the reality that, at one time or another, we would certainly need to make some requests; and in doing this, we need to know how.

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Making Polite Requests in English with Examples

There are many ways of making polite requests in English; most of them involve the use of the modal auxiliary verbs. Let us see some of them…

Can You

This is a subject-verb inversion and it is the usual way of asking someone to do something:

  • Can you open the window?
  • Can you tell him I’ll call him later?
  • If he will come, can you call him up?
  • Can you solve the equation?

Will You

‘Will you’ is another instance of subject-verb inversion. It sounds rather direct and is used especially when telling someone you know well to do simple things for you. Let us see some examples:

  • Please will you pass the salt?
  • Will you get me another drink from the fridge?
  • Come over here; will you?
  • Kindly give her some biscuits, will you?

Could You/Would You/Do You Think You Could

These phrases sound more polite than can you or will you. Kindly see the post on modal auxiliary verbs to learn more about these modal verbs. We use these phrases especially when talking to people we do not know well; or when asking someone to do something difficult or important. For example:

  • Could you put this case up on the rack for me?
  • Do you think you could give her a message?
  • Would you pick that up for me please?

Would You Mind/I Wonder If You Would Mind

These phrases sound more polite than could you. We use them especially when talking to people we do not know well. Considers these instances:

  • Would you mind closing the door?
  • I wonder if you would mind coming into my office for a minute.
  • Would you mind holding this for me?

Note: If someone asks you would you mind doing something?’ you can reply ‘no of course not’ if you agree to do what they ask. For example:

  • Would you mind looking after the children for me?
  • ‘Of course not. That would be fine.’

If you don’t want to do what someone asks, you usually say I’m afraid/I’m sorry and then give a reason. For example:

  • Would you mind looking after the children for me?
  • I’m afraid I’ve arranged to go out this evening.

The questions ‘do you mind’ or ‘do you care’ usually cause a lot of confusion for many English as a Second language users. Not to worry, I have addressed this in a post titled, How to Answer Tag Questions. Do well to check it out and share.

Could You Possibly/Is There Any Way You Could

This is used when asking someone to do something that is likely to be difficult or inconvenient for them and when you think the answer could easily be ‘no’:

  • Is there any way you could change the date of the meeting?
  • Do you think you could possibly lend me some money until next Friday?
  • Could you possibly rebook your flight?
  • Is there any way you could add one more luggage?

 

Making Polite Requests in English with Examples (Formal)

Let us proceed to see more formal ways of asking someone to do something…

I Was Wondering If You Could/Would It Be Possible For You To

This is used when asking someone to do something in a very formal and polite way, especially when you are not sure that they will be able to do what you ask. Let us see some examples:

  • I was wondering if you could help me; I’m trying to find the principal’s office.
  • Would it be possible for you to come in for an interview sometime next week?
  • I was wondering if you could lend us your car.

I Would Be Grateful If You Could/I Would Appreciate It If You Could

We use these expressions in formal letters and in other official contexts. For instance:

  • I would be grateful if you could send me an application form.
  • I would appreciate it if you could answer a few questions for me, Mrs Atkins.
  • The manager would appreciate it if you could come in person.

Would You Be So Kind As To

This is an extremely polite phrase that is used when speaking very carefully to someone you have never met before. See these examples:

  • Would you be so kind as to fill out this form?
  • Would you be so kind as to excuse me for a moment?

(We use this when telling someone that you need to leave them for a few minutes)

We Request That/You Are Requested Not to Do Something

This is used in official requests and instructions, especially on notices and in announcements. See the following examples:

  • We request that you turn off your cell phone while you are in the building.
  • Library users are kindly requested not to bring in food or drink.
  • You are requested to submit two passport photographs.
  • Visitors are requested to wear safety helmets and identification tags.

Related Posts

Having learnt something from this post titled Making Polite Requests in English with Examples, there are other useful posts along this line that you would need to check out. They include but not limited to the following:

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