Polite Requests in English Communication

Polite Requests in English Communication

Would you mind lending me some money?

There are many ways for you to make requests in English politely. Most of the polite requests are in the form of questions.

Would you / Would you like to / Could you …?

The most common polite way is to use Would you/Would you like to/Could you to ask other people to do somethings. We use it to suggest or request something more polite than Do you want to …?

Polite requests Answer Yes Answer No
Would you please give me the file on the table? Yes, of course. Well, I am afraid …
Could you join us at a party on this Sunday? Yes, I am happy to join I am sorry I am busy this Sunday.
Would you like to join us at a party on Sunday? Yes, certainly I’d like to but … + reason.


Would you mind / Do you mind …?

Would you mind + Verb-ing

Do you mind if I + Verb

If you think the answer maybe negative, and you want to sound more polite, you can use Would you mind …?

  • Would you mind helping with my exercise?
    Yes, certainly.
  • When you leave the room, would you mind closing the door?
    No, not at all!

We use Would you mind if I or Do you mind if I to make a request, we may be anticipating possible objections:

  • Would you mind if I take your car to work today?
    No, not at all.
  • Do you mind if I go out to buy some apples now?
    No, of course not.

Remember that ‘Do you mind…?’ and ‘Would you mind…?’ mean ‘Is it a problem for you?’ so the polite answer when we ‘say yes’ is ‘No’.

Asking for permission

Can I / Could I / May I / Might I

We use Can I / Could I / May I / Might I to request something for your self, all of these forms are possible. May and Might are consider to be more polite than Can and Could. We see the following examples:

  • Can I have a biscuit?
    Yes, of course
  • Could I ask you a favour?
    Of course you can.
  • Could I possibly have another sandwich?
    I don’t think so. You’ve had too much.
  • Might I leave the class a bit earlier today?
    Yes, you can.
  • If you’ve finished with the computer, may I borrow it?
    Yes, please do.

Might is more frequenly used in indirect questions, as an indirect softens the request. Note the further polite alternatives that we can use.

  • I wonder if I might leave the class a bit earlier?

Others way to say it are:

  • Would it be OK if I left the class a bit earlier?
  • Would I be able to leave the class a bit earlier?

 

[section title=”Remember”] It’s more polite to use these phrases.

  • Would you mind if I…?
  • Could I possibly…?
  • Could you possibly…?
  • Do you think you could…?

[/section]

 

Practice.

Choose the best polite answer.

[rapid_quiz question=”____ I left early tomorrow morning? I have a doctor’s appointment.” answer=”Would you mind if” options=”do you mind if|Could|Would you mind if” notes=””]

[rapid_quiz question=”Would you mind ____ me with these boxes?” answer=”helping” options=”help|if helping|helping” notes=””]

[rapid_quiz question=”Do you mind ____ the window please?” answer=”closing” options=”closed|closing|to close” notes=””]

[rapid_quiz question=”____ you like to come to the cinema tonight?” answer=”Would” options=”Could |Can|Would” notes=””]

[rapid_quiz question=”‘I’ve forgotten my wallet.’ – Don’t worry. I ____ lend you some money if you like.” answer=”could” options=”will|could|would” notes=””]

[rapid_quiz question=”____ I borrow a pen, please?” answer=”Could” options=”Would|Will|Could” notes=””]

[rapid_quiz question=”____ picking me at airport?” answer=”Do you mind” options=”Would you|Could you|Do you mind” notes=””]

 

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