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Thread: Could/Might

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    #41

    Re: Could/Might

    Fine. As emsr2d2 said, "You're not going to get a consensus on this, [...] There is no universal rule or likelihood rating for the three words.
    Last edited by GoesStation; 20-May-2020 at 19:38. Reason: Remove stray formatting tag.
    Typoman - writer of rongs

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    #42

    Re: Could/Might

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    For normal everyday purposes, just use could for polite requests.
    I think may is more polite in American English. However, in thinking this over, I don't really think could is likely to sound rude.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #43

    Re: Could/Might

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    Unlike GoesStation, I would not recommend using may for polite requests. It isn't just more polite than could, it's somewhat deferential, as it has as part of its extrinsic meaning a plea for permission. Because of this, children are often taught to use it to instil a sense of respect for authority. It's also appropriate in similar authoritative power relationships.

    Don't use might, either, as it sounds overly formal and old-fashioned. For normal everyday purposes, just use could for polite requests.
    One more question and I think I have finally figured out the difference. I am sorry but I didn't understand what you meant by "It isn't just more polite than could." Is "May" more polite than "could" or not?

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    #44

    Re: Could/Might

    Quote Originally Posted by Rachel Adams View Post
    Is "May" more polite than "could" or not?
    In the sense that I explained above, yes.

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    #45

    Re: Could/Might

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    In the sense that I explained above, yes.
    Is adding ''please'' unnecessary with ''can'', ''may'' ''might'' and ''could''? When talking about polite requests?

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    #46

    Re: Could/Might

    Quote Originally Posted by Rachel Adams View Post
    Is adding ''please'' unnecessary with ''can'', ''may'' ''might'' and ''could'' when talking about polite requests?
    It's not unnecessary. It's optional. Not using "please" doesn't necessarily make them less polite. Politeness can be as much about tone and manner of speaking as about the words.

    Please may I borrow your pen?
    May I borrow your pen, please?
    May I borrow your pen?
    Please can I borrow your pen?
    Can I borrow your pen, please?
    Can I borrow your pen?
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #47

    Re: Could/Might

    Quote Originally Posted by Rachel Adams View Post
    Is adding ''please'' unnecessary with ''can'', ''may'' ''might'' and ''could''? When talking about polite requests?
    My advice is this: Don't use may or might. Use could, with please.

    Could I ..., please?
    Could you ..., please?

    Simple.

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