Polite Requests

May 26, 2015

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?



Category: Study tips

Add Pingback

Please add a comment

You must be logged in to leave a reply. Login »

Category List


Tag List

defining relative clauses (1)
Journalism Course London (1)
London (5)
future tenses efl (1)
Barney Ronay (1)
New language (7)
student study tips (1)
Where to visit London (3)
writing a mini-saga (1)
Attractions in London (1)
the people's tower (1)
Things to do in London (6)
Cambridge Exam Preparation (1)
Journalist Course London (1)
World Naked Bike Ride (1)
future tenses english (1)
spelling (1)
Recording vocabulary (3)
english grammar online (1)
ILEC (1)
Things to see in London (4)
English tips (4)
pronuciation (3)
Relaxing London (4)
New blog (1)
mini-saga (1)
efl (4)
english study tips (1)
Journalism classes London (1)
the shard (1)
English food (3)
reading tips (1)
Islington Centre for English (6)
English grammar (4)
Tweed (1)
Field day (1)
Somewhere to visit London (1)
free english grammar (2)
Journalism evening course London (1)
music festival London (1)
saga (1)
music festivals uk (1)
Sport Journalism Course (1)
Vocabulary notebook (8)
Peaceful London (2)
silent disco (1)
past modals (1)
Basic English mistakes (1)
study english onlline (1)
Covent Garden (1)
New vocabulary (4)
Winter in London (6)
Hello from Ally (1)
Journalism Masterclass (1)
making predictions (1)
exams (1)
Victoria park (1)
ICE (5)
Reading in English (1)
Events in London (1)
Somewhere to visit (9)
Free english lessons (10)
Cool as a cucumber (1)
writing a mini saga (1)
Places to see in London (4)
english school online (1)
London markets (4)
Learn English (15)
english school london (12)
english school (2)
grammar (1)
Shopping in London (4)
english as a foreign language (3)
Fun (1)
FCE (4)
Insider info London (14)
English vocabulary (3)
narrative voice (2)
English (1)
Francais (2)
CAE (3)
IELTS (2)
Christmas in London (3)
Polite questions (1)
Idiom (3)
Listening in English (2)
Vocabulary (11)
english review (1)
London Summer (7)
Business English (1)
study english (1)
Somewhere to go London (3)
Cycling (1)
english grammar tips (1)
Historic moment (1)
Social programme (1)
Learning tips (10)
London Marathon (1)
Beautiful London (8)
english courses london (1)
english course london (12)
grammar tips (1)
Learn english online (12)
london events (1)
Halloween (2)
things to do london (1)
Adjective (2)
english grammar help (1)
Improve your vocabulary (5)
past modal verbs (1)
study tips (9)
Students (2)
Tourist tips (5)

Tag Cloud

student study tipsenglish school onlineICEIdiommusic festival Londonthings to do londonCyclingsagaAttractions in LondonILECCovent GardenEnglish tipsSport Journalism Coursewriting a mini sagaAdjectiveTweedJournalism MasterclassWorld Naked Bike Ridefree english grammarBusiness EnglishSocial programmeJournalism classes Londonmaking predictionsLondon MarathonFree english lessonsReading in Englishmusic festivals ukEnglish grammarListening in EnglishBeautiful LondonIELTSstudy english onllineVictoria parkenglish reviewfuture tenses englishmini-sagaPolite questionsVocabularyenglish study tipsIslington Centre for Englishenglish courses londonenglish school londonRelaxing Londonpast modalsThings to do in LondonBasic English mistakesenglish schoolCool as a cucumberexamsInsider info LondonJournalism Course LondongrammarJournalism evening course LondonLearn english onlineEnglish foodFCERecording vocabularyTourist tipsStudentsEvents in LondonNew languagePeaceful LondonLearn Englishgrammar tipsThings to see in LondonPlaces to see in LondonLondon SummerSomewhere to visit Londonwriting a mini-sagadefining relative clausesBarney Ronaysilent disconarrative voiceFunShopping in LondonLondon marketsstudy tipsNew blogstudy englishenglish course londonNew vocabularyChristmas in LondonHello from AllyWinter in LondonHalloweeneflField daypast modal verbsVocabulary notebookHistoric momentFrancaisenglish grammar onlineSomewhere to go Londonenglish grammar tipsCAEfuture tenses eflpronuciationreading tipsCambridge Exam PreparationEnglish vocabularyJournalist Course LondonspellingWhere to visit Londonenglish as a foreign languageEnglishthe shardthe people's towerLearning tipslondon eventsSomewhere to visitLondonImprove your vocabularyenglish grammar help


Archive