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Friday Message: Making Requests

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ABA English: Friday Message |
Friday Message
10/7/2020

How to Make Requests
Hello!!

I hope you are well and enjoying your Friday!


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Today we are going to look at how to make formal requests in English.

Most commonly we use “could” and “may” to make formal requests.

Have a look at a dialogue between Frank (F) and John (J) to see how to use them correctly:

F: Good morning, John. May I open the window in here? It’s very hot.

J: Sure, Frank! As you are standing up, could you also turn on the fan to cool down the room?

F: OK, no problem!

J: Could you and Mike go to the bank for me later? I urgently need to convert 500 pounds into US dollars and have no free time today.

F: OK. May we go to a few banks to get the best rate?

J: Of course you may!

As you can see, we use “may” and “could” to make formal requests. Questions with “may” or “could” are more formal than questions with “can”.

*An important rule to remember is that we only use “may” in questions with the first person forms “I” and “we”. We can use “could” with all persons.

We use “can”, “could” and “may” to ask for permission. However, we use “can” and “may”, but not “could”, to give permission. For example:

- May I May I use your car tomorrow?
- Yes, you may.

- Can I go out tonight?
- Yes, you can, but be home by ten.

I hope this has been useful for you! For more information on this topic, please check out unit 52 of the ABA online course.

Have a great weekend!

Bye for now!

Graham Weeks

Your ABA Teacher
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