"Would like" and Polite English Phrases

"Would like" is a polite way to say "I want" in English.

For example:

"I want to buy a ticket" is impolite because "I want" sounds selfish and arrogant.

"I would like to buy a ticket please" is polite and friendly.

Grammar rules for would like

"I would like" is followed by an infinitive verb or a noun.

"I would like to book a double room for Saturday." (infinitive verb "to book".)

"I would like a single room for Saturday." (noun "a single room".)

Because "would" is a modal verb, it doesn't change for he / she "third-person singular".
I would like
You would like
He / she would like
We would like
They would like

There is no "s" on he / she / it.

You can abbreviate the "would" to 'd:

I'd like
You'd like
He'd like
She'd like
We'd like
They'd like

Don't abbreviate from "would" to "'d" in the question or negative forms.
"I wouldn't like" (not "I'dn't like".)

To form the negative, add "not" or the abbreviation "n't" to "would":

I would not like / I wouldn't like
You would not like / You wouldn't like
He / she would not like / He wouldn't like
We would not like / We wouldn't like
They would not like / They wouldn't like

To form the question, change the subject-verb word order to verb-subject:

Would I like…?
Would you like …?
Would he / she like …?
Would we like …?
Would they like …?

The short reply is
Yes, I / you / he / she / we /they would.
No, I / you / he / she / we / they wouldn't.

Other ways to be polite in English

It's important to be polite when you speak to English people. Here are some ways you can do this:

Say "good morning", "good afternoon", "hello" etc before you ask for something

"Good morning! I'd like to buy a return ticket to London, please."
"Hello! Can I get a coffee and a Danish to go, please?"

Use polite words like "please", "thank you" and "excuse me"

Always see "please" when you ask for something. Put "please" at the end.

"Can you tell me the way to the Post Office, please?"

Say "thank you" when someone does something for you. (You can also say "thanks".)

"Hello, I'd like to buy a first-class stamp, please."
"Here you are."
"Thank you."

Say "excuse me" as a sort of introduction before you ask for something or speak to someone.

"Excuse me, does this train stop at Reading?"

"Excuse me, do you know what platform the London train goes from?"

For more information on politeness, see our page Being friendly in English.

You can also try our quiz "Saying thank you"!

Would like exercise

Click the Start button below to begin the exercise. For each question, select the missing word from the choices. Then click the arrow on the right to go to the next question.
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