(Redirected from Requests in English)

English provides many ways of making requests with differing levels of politeness appropriate for different situations. Making requests differs from offering suggestions and giving commands.

Form edit

Yes/no questions edit

Direct yes/no questions edit

Requests are usually made using yes/no questions. Roughly in order of politeness, they include:

  1. can you - ?
  2. could you - ?
  3. would you - ?
  4. would you be able to - ?
  5. could you possibly - ?
  6. would you possibly - ?
  7. might you possibly - ?
  8. would it be (at all) possible for you to - ?
  9. might it be (at all) possible for you to - ?

Question tags edit

Negative statements with question tags are also used to make informal requests.

  • You couldn't lend me your pen, could you?

Indirect yes/no questions edit

If a yes/no question is asked indirectly, it can make an even more polite request.

  • I wonder if you could help me carry this.
  • I don't suppose you have some spare change.

If a question tag is added to this type of request, it is still very polite.

  • I don't suppose I would be able to use your computer, would I?
  • I don't suppose you could lend me your phone, could you?

Mechanics edit

Requests made using yes/no questions are polite only if the question is positive. If the question is negative, the question sounds more like a complaint than a request.

  • Can you leave me alone for a few minutes? Can't you leave me alone for a few minutes?
  • Could you get me some tea? Couldn't you get me some tea?

Quiz edit

Change the following commands to polite requests.

1 Come here!

you come here?

2 Bring me a towel!

you could bring me a towel.