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Presentation Language of Politeness

1. In the conversation below, two guests are visiting friends at their house.

Read the conversation and answer questions a), b) and c).


a) There are four speakers, A, B, C and D. Which ones live at the house, and which ones are visitors?

b) Does everyone know everyone else? How do you know?

c) A says, 'Shall I just put these upstairs?' What do you think these are?


A: Actually, I wonder if they're in. Oh, they are in.

B: They obviously are.

C: Hello.

A: Hello.

C: Come in.

B: I'm Mike.

C: How are you?

B: Fine.

A: Shall I just put these upstairs?

C: Well, yeah. Can you put them in our room, please?

A: Sure.

C: How were the roads?

A: Oh, fine. No problem.

B: No problems. No.

A: Are you in there, Alison? Mmmm. Hello there.

D: Hello.

A: Do you mind if I put my bag here?

D: Oh, go ahead. Want a cup of tea?

A: Yeah.


2. Match these questions from the conversation to their functions.

a) Shall I just put these upstairs? i) a request

b) Can you put them in our room, please? ii) asking for permission

c) Do you mind if I put my bag here? iii) an offer


3. Which words are missing from this offer from the text?

............ Want a cup of tea?


4. Without looking back at the conversation, can you remember how the phrases in Exercise 2 were answered?


Language reference

The way we make a request, ask for permission or make an offer depends on: ■ the relationship between the people involved, and ■ how likely it is that we will get a positive answer.


A request is when we ask someone to do something: e.g. William, would you make me a cup of coffee?   We use the modal verbs can, could, will or would in requests: e.g. Can you put them in our room, please? Could I have a cup of tea, please? Would you pass me the salt? Would you mind phoning the doctor for me? Will you come with me to the dentist, please?   In informal, spoken English we sometimes make requests using Do you want to ... or Would you like to ...: A: Do you want to get me a glass of water? B: Yes, OK.   We often add just in spoken English: Would you like to just open a window for me?   Sometimes we use Can / Could I have ... with the meaning Can you get it for me?: Can I have my suitcase? (Can you get my suitcase for me?)   Requests are often longer when the situation is more formal, and / or there's a strong possibility of a negative response. Compare: Can you give me your pencil for a minute? (informal, likely to get a positive response) This is a huge favour, but I was wondering if you could lend me your music system for the party? (more formal, less likely to get a positive response)   Here are some other expressions to make requests longer and more polite: Would it be possible to borrow your car tonight? Do you think you could help me?



Responses to requests

√ Positive responses: We use expressions such as: Yes, of course. Sure. Yeah. OK. No problem.   χ Negative responses: If you can't do something, apologise and give an excuse: Can you pick me up from the station? Oh, I'm so sorry, but I can't. Our car is at the garage.


Asking for and giving permission

We use Can /Could/ May I... to ask if it is all right to do something: A: Can/ Could/ May I give my homework in late?B: Well, all right, since you've been unwell. We can also use other more formal expressions: Would you mind if / Would it be all right if I went out tonight? Do you mind if I/ Is it all right if I go out tonight? We use can to give permission: You can borrow the car whenever you want to.



We use these expressions to say we will do something for someone: Can I help you? Shall I open the door for you? I'll post those letters for you. Would you like me to speak to him on your behalf?


1. Recognising function

Decide if questions 1-10 are a request (r), offer (o) or asking for permission (p).

Example: Can I look at the newspaper a minute? .. r..

1) You don't look too good. Shall I call a doctor for you?

2) I'm sorry to be a nuisance, but would it be all right if I spread these papers on the table here? It'll only take a couple of minutes?

3) This train's running rather late. Would you like me to go and ask what's happening?

4) Would you post these letters for me on your way to work?

5) I know you hate giving bad news. I'll tell him if you like

6) Would you mind being a bit quieter, only I've got a headache?

7) Could I use your phone for a minute?

8) Would you mind if I had a quick look at your newspaper?

9) Can you pick up some milk for me when you go out?

10) Do you want to lay the table for me?


Which extracts sound like people who know each other well?


2. Making offers, requests and asking for permission

Use situations and instructions 1-8 to make offers and requests and ask for permission.

Example: The phone is ringing. Offer to answer it.

Would, you like me to answer the phone?


1. Someone is carrying heavy bags. Offer to help.


2. You're writing a letter to a travel company. Request their brochure.


3. You're in a friend's house. It's hot. Ask permission to open the window.


4. Your friend needs to go to the airport. Offer to drive him / her there.


5. You're at a restaurant table with friends. Request the salt.


6. You need a day off work. Ask your boss for permission.


7. Your brother has a broken arm. Offer to tie his shoelaces.


8. Your new neighbour is playing loud music late at night. Ask her to turn it down.



3. Preparing for a holiday

A couple are preparing for their holiday. Fill in the gaps in their requests and offers using words and expressions from this unit.



A: Just two days to go. Can you switch the TV off?

B: Why?

A: Well, I was _______________(1) if we could spend a few minutes thinking about what we need to do before we go.

B: Oh, yes. OK. Would you like ____________(2) to collect the tickets in the morning?

A: Yes, please. And do you ____________(3) you could go to a bank and get some money?

B: Oh, sorry, I ____________(4) The bank's too far from the office. I can't get there in my coffee break.

A: OK, ____________(5) go to the bank. ____________(6) you stop at a shop on your way home and get some first aid supplies? You know, plasters, sun cream, insect repellent - that sort of thing.

B: No ____________(7). ____________(8) you check and see if we've got aspirin and travel sickness pills?

A: Sure. ____________(9) I phone to check the airport terminal?

B: Thanks, yes. And ____________(10) get the suitcases out.

A: Oh, good. I can never remember where you keep them.



Speaking 2

1. Work in groups of three or four. Your group has decided to go out for the evening together. You can each spend £20. Look at the options available and decide on an evening’s entertainment which everyone will enjoy. You must agree about what you will do.

KINGSWAY ROLLER RINK Enjoy the latest pop videos at the

Tonight!!! Roller Disco VIDEO CAFE

Skating to all the rock and roll classics. Meals from £6 Entrance £4.5

Entrance £4.

Ladies free before 7.30 p.m.

Skate hire £3.50 (£10 returnable deposit) RACHEROS TEX-MEX EATERY

Fabulous menus. Eat all you can for £7.50


Disco night club

All the latest sounds at your favourite

rendezvous. From 8.00 p.m. till 3 a.m.

Entrance £8 includes one drink.

Drinks £2 before 10 p.m.


Screen One Screen Two

ROCKY XV1 Last Shows of Spring

Performances at A dying girl finds eternal love

7.10, 9.15, £6 Performances at 6.45, 8.50 £6

2. Work in pairs and make short dialogues. Do the following tasks in turns:

a) Ask your friend to book a table at Racheros Tex-Mex Eatery for tonight. Explain why you can’t do it yourself.

b) Ask your younger sister to call the Odeon Cinema to find out how long the films are and what seats are available.

c) Ask the Skate Hire Assistant at Kingsway Roller Rink to find another pair of skates for you, you need a pair one size bigger.

d) Ask the waiter at the White Rhinoceros if it’s possible for you to smoke there. Ask her for an ash-tray.

e) Ask a gentleman at the next table not to smoke as that is a non-smoking area at the Video Cafe.

f) Ask a strange young couple if you can join them at their table at the White Rhiniceros as all the other tables are occupied.



1. Do you think the figures of cinema attendance have ever changed in your country? If so, explain what the reasons may be.


2. Listen to this classroom talk about cinema attendance in three countries. Then fill in boxes 1-4 on the graph with the correct word, boxes 5-6 with the correct year and boxes 7-9 with the correct numbers.

3. What is the present situation regarding cinema-going in your country?


4. What does the cartoon illustrate?

«Excuse me, but that's my seat…»



Date: 2015-01-02; view: 1225

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