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

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

Tag Cloud

Victoria parkImprove your vocabularyWinter in LondonEnglishTourist tipsStudentsBarney Ronaymaking predictionsenglish grammar onlinelondon eventsFree english lessonsPlaces to see in LondonFunBusiness Englishenglish as a foreign languageexamsJournalism classes LondonSocial programmethe shardAttractions in LondonHello from AllyLearning tipsCyclingEnglish tipsenglish school onlinedefining relative clausesIELTSenglish reviewwriting a mini-sagaenglish courses londonSomewhere to visitpronuciationBeautiful LondonJournalism MasterclassgrammarChristmas in LondonSomewhere to go Londonthings to do londonmusic festivals ukFrancaisenglish study tipsPeaceful Londonsilent discoCovent Gardenpast modal verbsWorld Naked Bike RideNew vocabularyenglish grammar helpBasic English mistakesLondon MarathonEnglish grammarReading in Englishfree english grammarThings to do in LondonJournalist Course LondonNew blogmini-sagafuture tenses englishRecording vocabularyIdiomenglish course londonFCEILECThings to see in LondonField dayLearn EnglishspellingeflsagaRelaxing LondonPolite questionsCAEgrammar tipsIslington Centre for Englishstudent study tipsLondon Summerfuture tenses eflICEreading tipsVocabularyHistoric momentVocabulary notebookJournalism Course Londonstudy english onllineSport Journalism CourseShopping in LondonCambridge Exam PreparationInsider info Londonpast modalsLondon marketsWhere to visit Londonmusic festival LondonHalloweenLondonstudy englishTweedAdjectiveenglish grammar tipsstudy tipsenglish school londonEvents in LondonLearn english onlinenarrative voiceListening in Englishenglish schoolSomewhere to visit LondonEnglish foodwriting a mini sagaCool as a cucumberthe people's towerEnglish vocabularyNew languageJournalism evening course London


We use cookies to enable essential services and functionality on our site and to collect data on how visitors interact with our site, products and services. By clicking accept, you agree to our use of these tools for advertising, analytics and support.