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Unit 37. Can / Could / Would you ... ? etc. (Requests, offers, permission and invitations).




Unit 37; Part A

galka.jpgAsking people to do things (requests)
37.1.jpgWe use can or could to ask people to do things:
    Can you wait a moment, please?
or  Could you wait a moment, please?
    Liz, can you do me a favour?
    Excuse me, could you tell me how to get to the airport?


Note that we say Do you think you could ... ? (not can):

    Do you think you could lend me some money until next week?

We also use will and would to ask people to do things (but can / could are more usual):

    Liz, will you do me a favour?
    Would you please be quiet? I'm trying to concentrate.

Unit 37; Part B

galka.jpgAsking for things
To ask for something, we use Can I have ... ? or Could I have ... ?:

    (in a shop)  Can I have these postcards, please?
   
(during a meal) Could I have the salt, please?

May I have ... ?
is also possible:

    May I have these postcards, please?

Unit 37; Part C

galka.jpgAsking to do things
To ask to do something, we use can, could or may:

    (on the phone)  Hello, can I speak to Steve, please?
    'Could I use your phone?'    'Yes, of course.'
    Do you think I could borrow your bike?
    'May I come in?'    'Yes, please do.'


May
is more formal than can or could.


To ask to do something, you can also say Do you mind if I ... ? or Is it all right / Is it OK if I ... ?:

    'Do you mind if I use your phone?'    'Sure. Go ahead.'
    'Is it all right if I come in?'    'Yes, of course.'

Unit 37; Part D

galka.jpgOffering to do things
To offer to do something, you can use Can I ... ?:

    'Can I get you a cup of coffee?'    'That would be nice.'
    'Can I help you?'    'No, it's all right. I can manage.'

Unit 37; Part E

Offering and inviting
To offer or to invite, we use Would you like ... ?  (not Do you like):

    'Would you like a cup of coffee?'    'Yes, please.'
    'Would you like to come to dinner tomorrow evening?'    'I'd love to.'

I'd like ...
is a polite way of saying what you want:

    (at a tourist information office) I'd like some information about hotels, please.
    (in a shop) I'd like to try on this jacket, please.



Exercises

flag.jpgRead the situations and write questions beginning Can ... or Could ... .
Key.2    Can/Could I leave a message (for her)?  or  Can/Could you give her a message?
3    Can/Could you tell me how to get to the station? or  ... the way to the station?  or ... where the station is?
4    Can/Could I try on these trousers?  or  Can/Could I try these (trousers) on?
5    Can I give/offer you a lift?


1    You're carrying a lot of things. You can't open the door yourself. There's a man standing near the door.
      You say to him:    Could you open the door, please?   
2    You phone Sue, but somebody else answers. Sue isn't there. You want to leave a message for her.
      You say: ______________________________
3    You're a tourist. You want to go to the station, but you don't know how to get there.
      You ask at your hotel: ______________________________
4    You are in a clothes shop. You see some trousers you like and you want to try them on.
      You say to the shop assistant: ______________________________
5    You have a car. You have to go the same way as Steve, who is on foot. You offer him a lift.
      You say to him: ______________________________
flag.jpgRead the situation and write a question using the word in brackets.
Key.3    Do you think you could check this letter (for me)? / ... check my letter?
4    Do you mind if I leave work early?
5    Do you think you could turn the music down? / ... turn it down?
6    Is it OK if I close the window?
7    Do you think I could have a look at your newspaper?


1    You want to borrow your friend's camera. What do you say to him?
      (think)     Do you think I could borrow your camera?   
2    You are at a friend's house and you want to use her phone. What do you say?
      (all right)     Is it all right if I use your phone?   
3    You've written a letter in English. Before you send it, you want a friend to check it for you. What do you ask?
      (think) _________________________________
4    You want to leave work early. What do you ask your boss?
      (mind) _________________________________
5    The woman in the next room is playing music. It's very loud. You want her to turn it down. What do you say to her?
      (think) _________________________________
6    You're on a train. The window is open and you're feeling cold. You'd like to close it, but first you ask the woman next to you.
      (OK) _________________________________
7    You're still on the train. The woman next to you has finished reading her newspaper, and you'd like to have a look at it. You ask her.
      (think) _________________________________
flag.jpgWhat would you say in these situations?
Key.2    Can/Could/Would you show me?  or   Do you think you could show me?  or    ... do it for me?
3    Would you like to sit down? or  Would you like a seat? or  Can I offer you a seat?
4    Can/Could/Would you slow down?  or  Do you think you could ...?
5    Can/Could/May I/we have the bill, please?  or  Do you think I/we could have ... ?
6    Would you like to borrow it?


1    Paul has come to see you in your flat. You offer him something to eat.
      You: Would you like something to eat?    
      Paul:  No, thank you. I've just eaten.
2    You need help to change the film in your camera. You ask Kate.
      You: I don't know how to change the film. ___________________________?
      Kate: Sure. It's easy. All you have to do is this.
3    You're on a bus. You have a seat, but an elderly man is standing. You offer him your seat.
      You: ___________________________?
      Man: Oh, that's very kind of you. Thank you very much.
4    You're the passenger in a car. Your friend is driving very fast. You ask her to slow down.
      You: You're making me very nervous. ___________________________?
      Driver: Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't realise I was going so fast.
5    You've finished your meal in a restaurant and now you want the bill. You ask the waiter:
      You: ___________________________?
      Waiter: Right. I'll get it for you now.
6    A friend of yours is interested in one of your books. You invite him to borrow it.
      Friend: This looks very interesting.
      You: Yes, it's a good book. ___________________________?


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