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How to make a request

How to make a request

Request(n): asking for something or asking someone to do something in a polite or formal way.

Below is a list of expressions that you can use in making requests and responding to requests.

Making Requests

The following expressions are polite/formal. (polite questions)

  • Could I/we + verb in the infinitive without to
  • Could you + verb in the infinitive without to
  • Could you possibly +verb in the infinitive without to  (more polite request)
  • I wonder if you could + verb in the infinitive without to
  • Would you + verb in the infinitive without to
  • Do you think you could + verb in the infinitive without to
  • Would you mind + verb + ing
  • Would you mind if I + verb in the past simple
  • I would be grateful if you could + verb in the infinitive without to

‘Can’ is less polite

  • Can I use your dictionary?
  • Can you shut the window, please?

Polite request examples: 

  • Could I/we ask you a question?
  • Could you help me with this difficult Maths exercise?
  • Could you lend me some money until tomorrow?
  • Could you possibly send me some money? I’m broke.
  • I wonder if you could give me a ride to school.
  • I wonder if I could have a cup of coffee.
  • Would you close the door, please?
  • Do you think you could help me do this assignment?
  • Would you mind helping me with this heavy bag? 
  • Would you mind if I opened the window? It’s hot in here. 
  • I would be grateful if you could do me a favor? (polite request in written English)

Respond to requests

  • Certainly
  • Certainly not
  • Sure
  • Yes, of course
  • Sorry I can’t
  • I’ll see what I can do
  • I’m afraid I can’t
  • No, not at all
  • Actually, I’d like to keep it closed

Polite requests exercises

Exercise 1: Circle the correct option

  1. Could you pass/passing the salt, Please?
  2. Can / would you mind come here for a minute?
  3. ‘Can you / I sit here?’ ‘Sure, go ahead.’
  4. Would you be quiet, please?
  5. Would you mind if I move/moved these books aside?
  6. ‘Can I/you speak more slowly, please?’ ‘Yes, of course’
  7. Would you mind answer / answering some questions?

Exercise 2: Complete the polite requests. Use the word in brackets. Use no more than three words. (make a request)

  1. I want to come with you! (can)
    – …………………………………….with you?
  2. Help us with these boxes!
    – ……………………………………us with these boxes, please? (could)
  3. I want to see your passport!
    – ……………………………………..your passport, please? (could)
  4. Say that again, please.
    – Would…………………………….that again? (mind).
  5. Get me some water!
     – ……………………..get me some water, please? (would)
  6. We want to see the part’s photos.
    – …………………………….the party’s photos, please? (could)
  7. I want to use your pen. (use)
    – Would you mind …………………………your pen?

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