polite requests in informal settings

GeneD

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I'm aware of the polite formulas, such as "would you", "could you" and so on, which can be used for making requests, but I have the following question anyway. Do you use such formulas when in informal settings, for instance, among friends? The thing is, we use them in Russian as well, but definitely not in informal way. For example, with friends we would unlikely say "Would you mind opening the window, please?"; it would be too much. The bare imperative would do in most cases. But what about English? Could you help me solve this mystery, please? :)
 

teechar

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Do you use such formulas when in informal settings, for instance, among friends?
Yes, absolutely! Politeness is good in formal/informal situations.

... in Russian the bare imperative would do in most cases. But what about English?
That's not usually the case in English.
 

emsr2d2

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In BrE, the imperative would seem fairly impolite even amongst friends, but I would say "Can you open the window?" I wouldn't bother with "Would you" and I doubt I'd use "please".
 

andrewg927

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In AE, I find "would you", "could you" and "can you" all appropriate among friends but I would more likely use "can you".
 

Lynxear

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In BrE, the imperative would seem fairly impolite even amongst friends, but I would say "Can you open the window?" I wouldn't bother with "Would you" and I doubt I'd use "please".



Canadians are known to be overly polite. In this country saying this without adding "please" it would not seem to be a request but rather it could be construed to be a demand.

Depending on the tone of the statement without the "please" I might respond as follows:

Can you open the window?
Yes, I can. (and not actually open the window if I did not like the person).

We also consider "could" to be a more polite way of making a request.

Could you open the window, please?

Even without the word "please" this is viewed as more polite and less of a demand.

Originally Posted by GeneD

For example, with friends we would unlikely say "Would you mind opening the window, please?"; it would be too much.

Speaking again from a Canadian point of view, we have no problem wording the request this way. Actually, if you really wanted that window open, this is the most polite way you can make such a request. It is also the form of request that would almost never be refused.
 
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