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  1. #1
    thedaffodils's Avatar
    thedaffodils is offline Key Member
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    I could do with a cup of tea

    In a British movie titled Sightseer, the mother told her daughter, "I could do with a cup of tea".

    Is it "do with something" more polite than just saying I would like to have a cup of tea?

    Thank you!

  2. #2
    Route21's Avatar
    Route21 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: I could do with a cup of tea

    "I could (do with/murder) a cup of tea." would be a potential answer to "Is there anything I could get you?"
    Both would mean "I would really like a cup of tea [i.e. I'm very thirsty]".
    It's not so much polite as emphatic.
    See: could - Idioms - by the Free Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia.
    - particularly "could do with" and "could murder".

    Regards
    R21

    PS: I notice they're not included in the UE list of idioms.
    Maybe they could do with being included? But that's a polite request, rather than an emphatic one!
    Last edited by Route21; 10-Apr-2013 at 12:43.

  3. #3
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: I could do with a cup of tea

    It was added to phrasal verbs- there's often a fine line: Could do with - English Phrasal Verb - UsingEnglish.com

  4. #4
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Re: I could do with a cup of tea

    Quote Originally Posted by thedaffodils View Post
    In a British movie titled Sightseer, the mother told her daughter, "I could do with a cup of tea".

    Is it "do with something" more polite than just saying I would like to have a cup of tea?

    Thank you!
    So it's not more polite; and if your host hasn't mentioned it it might be felt to be impolite. But it's informal enough for users and hearers to understand that the emphasis trumps the need for politeness.



    b

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