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  1. Member
    Academic
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    #1

    Asking somebody who has blocked your path to move away

    Situation 5) You are a salesperson in a gift shop. You need to get something out of a display case now. However, you are unable to get into the case because a customer is standing in the way and blocking your path.
    a) Excuse me. I need to get to the case behind you.
    b) Excuse me. Could you clear the way? I have to get things out of the display case.
    c) Excuse me. If itís not too much trouble, might I get into that display case?


    What would you say as an American or British native speaker in this situation?


  2. Moderator
    Retired English Teacher
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    #2

    Re: Asking somebody who has blocked your path to move away

    a)

  3. emsr2d2's Avatar
    Moderator
    English Teacher
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    #3

    Re: Asking somebody who has blocked your path to move away

    In truth, I wouldn't use any of them but that's not because they're wrong. They're all grammatically correct and, if you asked enough people, you'd probably find someone who would choose a), someone who would choose b) and someone who would use c).

    In my opinion, c) is a little old-fashioned. My (late) grandfather, who was born in 1921, used the "Might I ..." construction but people of later generations are far less likely to use it.

    b) doesn't need "Could you clear the way?" "Could you move out of the way/Could you step aside?" might work.

    Like Rover, I would choose a) if I had to choose one of them. In reality, I would probably say "Excuse me. I need to get something out of that cabinet. Can I reach past you?/Could you just step aside a little? Thanks."
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  4. Senior Member
    Interested in Language
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    #4

    Re: Asking somebody who has blocked your path to move away

    In real life, I would just say "excuse me." That should be enough for the other person to step aside.

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