I could do with a cup of tea

Status
Not open for further replies.

thedaffodils

Key Member
Joined
Apr 26, 2008
Member Type
Other
Native Language
Chinese
Home Country
China
Current Location
China
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!
 

Route21

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 27, 2010
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
British English
Home Country
England
Current Location
Thailand
"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:

BobK

Harmless drudge
Staff member
Joined
Jul 29, 2006
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
UK
:up:
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.

:hi:

b
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top