Do you ever get annoyed with English people continually saying please, thank you or sorry? It’s important to remember that English is a very polite language which uses a lot of indirect structures. For example, you may have noticed the unusual way that English people make requests. This week, my students have been learning and practising using Polite Requests:
When making a request we often incorporate a modal verb such as can or could (could might be considered a little more formal). REMEMBER: although the sentence is structured like a question, the speaker is not looking for an answer:
“Can I have the bill, please?”
“Could you pass me the water, please?”
When you are seeking someone’s attention, remember to use some polite language to begin the conversation:
“Excuse me, could I ask you…”
“Sorry to interrupt, but…”
Sometimes you may be seeking permission for something (REMEMBER: “do you mind if…” has a similar meaning to “would it be a problem if…” and thus the response has to reflect this):
“Do you mind if I leave a bit early today?”
“Is it alright if I sit here?”
Do you use these structures regularly when you speak English? Are any of them similar to your own language?
Our English Language school in London provides courses for complete beginners. This is also known as CEFR A1 level or pre-CEFR A1 level. This course currently runs every afternoon from 12.30 to 3.30pm.
Our Cambridge advanced exam evening courses run from 6:30 to 8:30 every Tuesday and Thursday. Our courses are designed to help students study the grammar, language skills and exam techniques required for the CAE exam.
Our Cambridge first certificate evening courses run from 6:30 to 8:30 every Tuesday and Thursday. Reading, writing, speaking and listening skills are extensively rehearsed in each lesson to help prepare students for the FCE exam.
Our business English evening courses run from 6:30 to 8:30 every Tuesday and Thursday. The course is aim at students who are experienced working people looking to improve their language skills for business purposes.