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ESL forum > Grammar and Linguistics > will, would, can and could for polite request    

will, would, can and could for polite request


will, would, can and could for polite request
Let �s discuss this! Why is saying  " would you please...." more polite than "will you please.." ? how are they different from "can you please...? and "could you please?"

9 Oct 2014      

United States

It �s just the nature of English that the conditional forms "would" and "could" are considered more polite.

Literally, "can" asks about ability and "will"about willingness, but the distinction isn �t observed very strongly.

I would say that "would" is most polite, then "could". I put "will" and "can" at the same level of politeness. Also, using "could" expresses a mild doubt that the request will be granted.


9 Oct 2014     


I agree with Bruce. Smile

9 Oct 2014     

United States

I agree with Bruce and Zora, too. In addition, Will sounds more like a command than would. Example: Will you turn off that *!#* music! as opposed to Would you mind turning off the music. 

Could you let me see your notes? Sure. 
Can you let me see your notes? sounds less sophisticated and more informal than could

9 Oct 2014     

cute sona

I agree with u all

13 Oct 2014