How to Make Polite Requests in English

Published by My Lingua Academy on

We make requests when we ask someone to do something for us. Therefore, we should be polite and avoid being too direct. For example, we won’t say: “Lend me your car for the weekend” because the person we’re asking for a favor will most probably not lend us the car because we sound rude. Not even ‘please’ will help much “Please, lend me your car for the weekend”, as we would still sound too direct. So, how should we ask for a favor? Like this: “Would you mind lending me your car for the weekend?”  or: “I was wondering if you could possibly lend me your car for the weekend?” These phrases are polite and not too direct.

Requests are normally in a question form and usually start with ‘Could you…?’ ‘Can you’ or ‘Would you…?

Could you do me a small favor, please?

Would you pick me up on your way to work? My car’s broken.

Can you help me with my cooking?

There are many various ways of making polite requests in English, but here are some phrases which can help you in different situations:

Would you do me a favor and look after my cat while I’m away? –Yes, of course/ Sorry, I can’t.

Would you mind closing the window, I’m freezing?

Could you do me a favor and lend me some money?

Could you possibly help me carrying these boxes?

Sorry to bother you, but can you please help me with this?

May/Can I borrow your pen for a second?

I wonder if you could/would join us at the picnic on Saturday?

If you are not too busy, can I ask for a favor?

I don’t suppose you could/would lend me your car for the weekend?

I’d really appreciate it if you could/would give me a lift.

Will you be passing by the supermarket? I wonder if you could get me a few things. 


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