How to Make Requests and Offers in English

Learn these common ways for making requests and offers so that you sound polite.

Making requests - asking someone to do something for you

These are the three most common ways for making requests:

"Could you open the door for me, please?"

"Would you mind opening the door for me, please?"

"Can you open the door for me, please?'

Speaking tip: could and can are followed by the verb without to. (See our page on modal auxiliary verbs for more grammar information.)

Would you mind is followed by the verb and -ing.

Making requests - asking if you can do something

Here are the four most common ways for making requests (when you want to do something):

"Can I use your computer, please?"

"Could I borrow some money from you, please?"

"Do you mind if I turn up the heating?"

"Would you mind if I turned up the heating?"

Speaking tip: Could is more polite that can.

Do you mind if..." is followed by the verb in the present tense, but would you mind if... is followed by the verb in the past tense.

When you're using these two sentences, don't use please. It's already polite enough!

Offering to do something for another person

You can make an offer using a phrase like Can I... ?, Shall I... ?, Would you like me to... ?

For example:

"Can I help you?"

"Shall I open the window for you?"

"Would you like another coffee?"

"Would you like me to answer the phone?"

"I'll do the photocopying, if you like."

Shall, can and will are followed by the verb without to.

Shall is particularly British English and is more formal than can. Would you like... is followed either by a noun, or by an object pronoun and the verb with to.

Responding to offers

These English dialogues show you ways to accept or reject offers made to you.

"Can I help you?"
"Yes please. I'd like to know what time the train leaves."

"Can I help you?"
"No thanks, I'm just looking." (In a shop.)

"Shall I open the window for you?"
"Yes please. That would be very kind of you."

"Would you like another coffee?"
"No thanks." Or, "No thank you."

"Would you like another coffee?"
"Yes please, that would be lovely." Or, "Yes please, I'd love one."

"Would you like me to answer the phone?"
"If you wouldn't mind." Or, "If you could."
(Don't answer "Yes, I would", as this sounds like you expect someone to do it for you.)

"I'll do the photocopying, if you like."
"It's OK, I can do it." Or, "Don't worry, I'll do it.

"Or, "Thank you, that would be great."

Making Requests Quiz

Level: Elementary and above

1. You're in an English class and you would like to borrow another student's pen. You say:
__ you lend me your pen, please?
2. Your colleague is going out to get lunch and you'd like him / her to get something for you. You start your request:
Could you __ me a favour?
3. You could also ask your colleague:
Would you mind __ me a sandwich when you're out?
4. You are a parent with two children. They want to go out, but you want them to do their homework first. You say:
I'd __ you to do your homework first.
5. Your colleague asks to open the window, saying:
Do you mind if I __ the window?
6. Another student in your class asks to share your textbook, saying ''Can I share your textbook?'' You agree and say:
7. A customer buys a lot from you and wants a bigger discount. You want to keep the customer happy but you need your boss to agree. You say:
I'll __ what I can do.
8. Your colleague wants you to help with an urgent problem, but you can't. You say:
I'm __ I can't help you there.
9. You are the boss and someone who works for you asks for an extra day's holiday. You accept the request but ask the person to work Saturday instead. You say:
That's no problem, __ you work on Saturday.
10. Your boss asks you to work overtime (extra hours) but you can't. You say:
Ah, that __ be a bit difficult.

29 thoughts on “How to Make Requests and Offers in English

  1. suganya.M

    could i take one of my friend with me for the interview?looking forward to hearing from you..is this corret

  2. arekireng

    Thank you a lot, This is a great article, I like this .I allways to read this article again and again to improve my english skill.

  3. ravi

    This would help us immensely and it would be much appreciated if you could add more activities like these

  4. Tome jaime

    I am always in contact with your articles because are very useful for those who has English as their L2.

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