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  1. #1
    koukouliko is offline Junior Member
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    Default asking in a polite way

    1) Can I ask someone in a polite way:
    would you kindly do ....? Is that right and if not please rephrase the question but I want to use the word kindly because I heard it so many times in such type of question.

    2) Also I want to know the difference between would and could when asking in a polite way

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Clark is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: asking in a polite way

    1. Would/Will you kindly open the window?

    2. Would you like some coffee? (Not could you ...)
    Could I have a cup of coffee? (Not would I ...)
    Would you be so kind as to give me a cup of coffee? (Not could ...)
    Would you mind opening the window? (Not could ...)

    Will/Would/Could you get me a glass of water?

  3. #3
    koukouliko is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: asking in a polite way

    Thank you vey vey much

  4. #4
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    Default Re: asking in a polite way

    'would' is used in a question when you are asking the person if they wish, or have the desire or inclination, to do something, to have something.
    Would you like some coffee? - do you wish/desire/want some coffee?
    'could' is used to make a polite request of someone.
    Could I have a cup of coffee? - polite request made of another person. The implication is, is it possible, is coffee available?
    "Could you post this for me while you are in town?" - polite request, with the implication, is that possible for you to do/will you have time to do this for me?

    'would' is also used to make a polite request, but here, you are asking the person to comply to your wish, and expect that they will voluntarily do so.
    Would you be so kind as to give me a cup of coffee? - your wish for coffee, asking them to comply.
    Would you mind opening the window? - request for compliance to your wish/want/desire for the window to be open.

  5. #5
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: asking in a polite way

    Quote Originally Posted by koukouliko View Post
    1) I want to use the word kindly because I heard it so many times in such type of question.
    [...]

    Thanks
    I'd be careful with the word "kindly". It is often used sarcastically, to suggest that the speaker is feeling anything but kindly. eg:

    "Would you kindly remove your dog from my restaurant?"
    "Would you kindly stop blowing smoke into my face?"

    Still, you could try it, and see what reactions you get. If people appear vaguely offended, you'll understand why.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: asking in a polite way

    It's all in the tenor of the situation and conversation, and the tone of the voice; but 'be so kind' is far safer than 'kindly'!

  7. #7
    bhaisahab's Avatar
    bhaisahab is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: asking in a polite way

    You can turn almost any polite expression into an insult with sarcasm.

  8. #8
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    stuartnz is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: asking in a polite way

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    You can turn almost any polite expression into an insult with sarcasm.
    Well illustrated by that British legal nicety "my learned friend", which actually means, "that semi-evolved simian on the other side of the courtroom".

  9. #9
    bhaisahab's Avatar
    bhaisahab is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: asking in a polite way

    Quote Originally Posted by stuartnz View Post
    Well illustrated by that British legal nicety "my learned friend", which actually means, "that semi-evolved simian on the other side of the courtroom".
    Indeed, or "The Honourable Member opposite."

  10. #10
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: asking in a polite way

    I wasn't aware that Honourable Members were that far up the evolutionary path.

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