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You are here: Level A2 > Polite requests

Practical English

Asking politely: list of phrases

Asking for permission

Can I leave now?

Could I go home early today?

May I call you back later?

Is it all right if I leave early?

Would you mind if I called you back later?

Asking people to do things

Can you speak louder, please?

Could you say that again, please?

I wonder if you could help me?

Would you mind calling me back in 10 minutes?

'Could' is a little more formal than 'can'.

'May' is very formal and slightly old-fashioned.


Yes, of course.

Go ahead.

By all means.


I'm sorry I/you can't.

I'm awfully/terribly/very sorry but I/you can't ….....

I'm afraid not.

In response to 'would you mind....'

No, of course not.

Go ahead.

I don't mind.

Refusing: Yes, I do (mind).


Shall I do that?

Do you want me to call you back later?