Polite Questions

Polite imperatives and requests

– We can say ‘please’ after an imperative to be polite:

Listen to me, please.

However, in a social context it is better not to use the imperative, even with ‘please’, to ask for things. It is more polite to use a question form:

Can you tell me the time, please? (not Tell me the time, please.)


– We can use

You couldn’t … could you? or You haven’t … have you?

for a polite request:

You couldn’t show me how to do it, could you?

You haven’t got an umbrella, have you?

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