Unit 36. Can/ Could/ Would you …? etc.
(Requests, offers, permission and invitations)
(использование оборотов Can/ Could/ Would you …?)
Asking people to do things (requests)
We often use can or could to ask people to do things:
Note that we say ‘Do you think (you) could…?’ (not usually ‘can’):
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.
Asking 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 (but less usual):
- May I have these postcards, please?
Asking for and giving permission
To ask for permission to do something, we use can, could or may:
- (on the phone) Hello, can I speak to Tom, please?
- ‘Could I use your phone?’ ‘Yes, of course.’
- Do you think I could borrow your bike?
- ‘May I come in?’ ‘Yes, please do.’
To give permission, we use can or may.
- You can use the phone. or You may use the phone.
May is formal and less usual than can or could.
Offering to do things
To offer to do something, we sometimes use Can I…?:
- ‘Can I get you a cup of coffee?’ ‘Yes, that would be very nice.’
- ‘Can I help you?’ ‘No, it's all right. I can manage.’
You can also use I'll… to offer to do things (see Unit 21):
- You look tired. I'll get you a cup of coffee.
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?’ ‘Yes, 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.