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How to make polite requests

How to be polite to others and how to make requests politely so that people are more likely to do what you asked.

Polite requests

Please / Could you please /Would you  /Can you  / Would you mind. 
 
Can you is not as polite as could you.
  • Can you give me a lift home tonight please?
  • Could you give me a lift home tonight please?

Can you is very casual and could is more suitable to a business situation.
  • Can you get the report finished by Friday? (Almost demanding the report to be completed by Friday.)
  • Could you get the report finished by Friday? (Asking you to complete the report by Friday.)
  • Can you help me with my work this week? (I need help this week.)
  • Could you help me with my work this week? (If you have time can you help me this week).
Would you mind …
 
'Would you' is friendlier than can you and could you, because you are asking and not demanding.
  • Would you mind opening the window?

There are many good expressions you can use, but you should understand when other people are speaking to you what you should say in reply.
 
Let’s see what happens when we look at different contexts when people do not use a polite request.
 
In the bank
 
Let’s say you’re at the bank and someone says
  • Fill in this form.
Ask yourself how that makes you feel, probably not very nice. It would be much nicer if they said:-
  • Could you fill out this form?
  • Would you mind filling this form?
In a restaurant
 
If you’re in a restaurant and you ask the waiter to bring a menu.
  • Bring us a menu.
Of course the waiter will bring you the menu, but it’s not a very nice way to treat other human beings, so it’s much nicer to say :-
  • Would you bring us the menu please?
  • Could you please bring us the menu?
  • Please bring us the menu?
Call center
 
Let’s suppose you work in a call center and you have to ask people for information if you just asked:-
 
  • Give me your name.
  • Give me your address.
  • Give me your phone number.
You probably would not have many customers if you were this abrupt, so you need to be diplomatic and polite by saying:-
  • Could you give me your phone number please?
  • Would you give me your phone number please?
  • Would you mind giving me your name?
  • Could you give me your address?
  • Could I have your phone number please?
Office situation
 
Speaking abruptly in the office makes you sound angry and you don’t want to sound angry around people you work with all the time. It would be much nicer to use could you or would you.
  • Would you please send them an email?
  • Would you mind sending them an email please?
Another thing that happens when you use would you mind this verb have to change the verb + ing.
  • Would you mind filling in this form please?
  • Would you mind giving me your name please?
  • Would you mind sending them email please?
Remember that a little change if you’re using would you mind.
 
In a hotel
 
If you’re in a hotel and you're asking them to send some clean towels to your room. It is nicer to say would you or could you.
  • Could you please send me some clean towels?
  • Would you mind sending some clean towels up to my room?
On the phone
  • Could you please speak a little louder, I’m afraid I can’t hear you.
  • Would you mind speaking a little louder, I’m afraid I can’t hear you.
Here is a little words and expressions that the add-on make life a lot easier for you and those people you live with.
 
Rather than just barking orders to people.
  • Turn off the TV.
  • Close the door.
  • Pass the salt.

Be nice and be kind to people, treat them how you would like them to treat you.

  • Could you please turn off the TV?
  • Could you please close the door?
  • Could you please pass the salt?
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