Modals for polite requests

We use certain modals to be polite. Sometimes we need to be polite for professional or formal situations and sometimes we choose to be polite in casual situations.

How you ask a question is very important:

Ex: Are you going to help me with my job?

Would you please help me with my job?

Here, the first sentence is very direct. You are almost telling the other person to help you. The second sentence uses the modal would and the word please. It is much more polite. Here are some polite expressions using the modals we learned in this module. Use them to make polite requests.

Modals of advice

ExpressionWhen to use itExamples
Would+you+(please, kindly**)Formal situations, when asking for help.Would you kindly wait in my office?

Would you please call Sarah and tell her to come here?
Could+you+(please, kindly**)Informal situations, when asking for help or asking someone to do an action.Could you please help me with this report?
Could you close the window? I’m cold.
Will+you+(please, kindly**)Formal situations, when asking someone to do an action.Will you kindly come with me to lunch?
Will you please stop talking? I am trying to listen.
Can+you+(please, kindly**)Informal situations, when asking someone if something is possible or to do an action.My computer is broken, can you please fix it?
Can we finish this before the deadline? (Is it possible?)

**NOTE: The words ”please” or ”kindly” can be added to the request, but are not necessary.