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How to make and respond to polite requests

It’s important to be polite when you ask for something.

You can make a request by using:

  • can you …?
  • could you …?
  • will you …?
  • would you mind …?

Here are some examples of how to make a request. 

Can you
Will you
Could you possibly
open the door for me, please?
would you mind
opening the door for me ?


Making Request:

  • Can you show me your photo album, please?
  • Will you lend me your book, please?
  • Could you possibly show me the way to the post office, please?
  • Would you help me with this exercise, please?
  • Would you mind lending me your pen, please? 

Responding to request:

  • Sure here you are.
  • Okay.
  • No, I’m sorry I need it
  • I’m afraid I can’t. 

Things to remember about making a request:

  1. "Would you mind..." is followed by a gerund (verb+ing)
    Example:"Would you mind lending me your book? "
  2. The response to the following request:


A: "Would you mind giving me your book? "


is either

  • "No, I don't mind."(which is a positive response to the request. It means that I accept to lend you my book)
  • or "Yes." (which is a negative response to the request. It means that I don't want to lend you my book.)


  1. Could is more polite than can.


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Andrew is the CEO and founder of the Art of Business English. Besides teaching and coaching native Spanish speakers in Business English, he is also passionate about mountain biking, sailing and healthy living. When He is not working, Andrew loves to spend time with his family and friends.

Andrew Ambrosius

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