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Modal verbs for polite requests

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by

Gustavo Pinho

on 16 August 2011

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Transcript of Modal verbs for polite requests

May I Modals for Polite Requests Would you... ? Could you... ? Will you... ? Can you... ? Modal verbs are helping/auxiliary verbs that express ideas like ability, permission, and asking for assistance. Many modal verbs have more than one meaning. They are always followed by the simple form of a verb. Could you help me for a minute, please?

This shows that the speaker is asking for help politely. Example COULD YOU help me for a minute, please? This shows that the speaker is asking for help politely To ask questions in a very polite way, use:
Would you/ Could you (please) + simple verb + ...? Example Would you please email that document to me? I need it ASAP*.

Could you explain that again, please? I didn’t understand. To ask questions in a polite but more casual way, say: Will you/ Can you (please) + simple verb + ...? Example Will you please answer the phone? I’m working.

Can you hold my books for me? My hands are full. Important! We do not use the word “may” in a polite question when “you” is the subject. Example May you please close the door? Wrong! Could you please close the door? Right! or May I close the door? Exercise Choose the best modal for each sentence.



Sandy, ________________ photocopy these letters right away?
a) may you
b) do you can
c) can you


Student: _________________ help me with my homework, please?
Teacher: Of course!
a) May you
b) Could you
c) Could you please


Teacher, ______________ explain this grammar to me again, please?
a) could you
b) you may
c) you will


A: _________ you show me how to use this computer software?
B: _________________. How can I help?
a) Can / I'd be glad to
b)Could / I would happy to
c) Can / I be glad to


Teacher: Marco, ______________ erase the blackboard for me?
Marco: _________________, teacher.
a) you can / Of course
b) Would you please / Yes, of course
c) you will / Yes, certainly



Charlotte, ______________ send me the document by email?
a) You could
b) Would you please
c) Would please you Sandy, ________________ photocopy these letters right away?
a) may you
b) do you can
c) can you


Student: _________________ help me with my homework, please?
Teacher: Of course!
a) May you
b) Could you
c) Could you please


Teacher, ______________ explain this grammar to me again, please?
a) could you
b) you may
c) you will


A: _________ you show me how to use this computer software?
B: _________________. How can I help?
a) Can / I'd be glad to
b)Could / I would happy to
c) Can / I be glad to


Teacher: Marco, ______________ erase the blackboard for me?
Marco: _________________, teacher.
a) you can / Of course
b) Would you please / Yes, of course
c) you will / Yes, certainly



Charlotte, ______________ send me the document by email?
a) You could
b) Would you please
c) Would please you
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