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Asking people to do things

A Polite requests

We can use can or could in a request, when we ask someone to do something.

Can everyone be quiet for a minute, please?

Can you keep me informed'? ~ Yes, of course.

Could you lend me ten pounds until tomorrow? ~ Sorry, I haven't got ten pounds.

I wonder if you could explain something to me. ~ I'll try. Could is often more polite than can.

In a request we can also use Do you mind ...? or Would you mind...? with an ing-form.

Do you mind waiting a moment? ~ No, I can wait.

Would you mind sitting in the back? ~ No, not at all. We can also use Would you like to ...?

Would you like to lay the table for me? ~ Yes, of course. We do not use Do you like ...? for a request, not Do you like to lie the table for me?

It is always worth taking the trouble to use one of these request forms in English. We do not normally say Lay the table for me. This can sound very abrupt and impolite without a phrase like Could you ...?

B The imperative

We can sometimes use the imperative form to tell someone what to do.

Bring another chair. Hurry up or we'll be late. We form the negative with don't.

Don't be silly. Don't make so much noise.

We can use an imperative when we are with friends in an informal situation. But we do not use it to a stranger or in a more formal situation.

Excuse me. Could you tell me the way to Oxford Street, please?

not Tell-me-the way to Oxford Street-please.

Would you mind sending me a copy of your catalogue?

not Send-me-a-copy-of your-catalogue.

Even people in authority often avoid using the imperative to give orders. Instead they can use I want/I'd like you to ..., You must..., or a polite request form. Manager: / want you all to be at the meeting. Policeman: You must wait until you see the green light. Doctor: Could you lie down on the bed, please?

C Asking for things

We use Can I/we have...? and Could I/we have ...? when we ask someone to give us something.

Can we have our room key, please? Could I have a receipt, please? We can also say Could you give me a receipt, please?but we do not use the imperative.

not Give-me-a receipt.

When we ask for something in a shop or a cafe, we can simply name what we want, but we must say please

A large white loaf, please. Two coffees, please. We can also use I'd like ... or I'll have ...

I'd like a chicken sandwich, please. I'll have a coffee.

45 Can and could for permission 52B Would like


1 Asking people to do things (A-C) Complete these sentences and write them in: Can I... a fork, please? Could ... have a towel, ...? Could you ... the ... for me? Would you ... answering the phone?


 

50 Exercises

Could you open the door for me? 2 ....... ………………………………………

1 ............................................................................... 3 ............................................................................

2 Asking people to do things (A-C)

Mr Atkins is the boss at Zedco. He tells everyone what to do. Complete his sentences. Use these words: can, could, have, like, mind, must, want, wonder, would



► Would you mind making some tea, Alan?

1 You…………………inform me of any developments.

2 Could I ....................... the latest sales figures, please?

3 Would you ....................... to arrange a meeting some time next week, Fiona?

4 I……………….everyone to read the report.

5 ………………..I see the file, please, Mark?

6 ………………..you mind putting this in writing?

7 I……………..if you could translate this letter, Linda.

8 ……………… you meet our customer at the airport?

3 Asking people to do things (A-C)

Read about each situation and then make a request. Use the word in brackets.

► It is cold in the restaurant. Ask the waiter to shut the window, (could)
Could you shut the window, please ?

1 You are buying a coat. Ask the assistant for a receipt, (can)

2 You want to know the time. Ask someone in the street, (could)

Excuse me..........................................................................................................................

3 You need someone to help you. Ask a friend, (can)

4 You have bought some food, but you haven't got a bag. Ask the assistant, (could)

5 You are carrying a tray. Ask someone to clear a space on the table, (mind)

6 You are on the phone. You want to speak to the manager, (could)



Date: 2014-12-22; view: 342


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