“Can” / “could” / “would” + you?

   

 
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General English
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Welcome to your “Can” / “Could” / “Would” + You? lesson! In this topic we talk about:
• Asking people to do things
Asking for things
Asking to do things
Offering to do things
Offering and inviting.
Take the quizzes when you’re ready! If you’re having problems, use the comment box to contact our English Teachers.

Asking people to do things

We use “can” or “could” to ask people to do things:

Can you wait here, please?”
or
Could you wait here, please?”

“James, could you do me a favour?”

“Excuse me, can you tell me where the bank is, please?”

We say “do you think you could…” (not “can”):

Do you think you could lend me your car for the weekend?”

We also use “will” and “would” to ask people to do things (but can/could sounds more natural):

“James, will you do me a favour?”

Would you please be quiet?”

Asking for things

To ask for something, we use “Can I have … ?” or “Could I have … ?”:

Can I have some stamps please?”

Could I have some pepper, please?”

May I have” is also possible:

May I have some stamps, please?”

Asking to do things

To ask to do something, we use “can”, “could” or “may”:

“Hello, can I speak to Jo, please?”

Could I use your toilet?”

“Do you think I could borrow your umbrella?”

May I leave the table?”

“May” is more formal than “can” or “could”.

To ask to do something, you can also say “Do you mind if I … ?” or “Is it all right if I … ?” or “Is it ok if I … ?”:

Do you mind if I use your toilet?”
or
Is it all right if I use your toilet?”
or
Is it ok if I use your toilet?”

Offering to do things

To offer to do something, you can use “Can I … ?”:

Can I get you a drink?”

Can I help you?”

Offering and inviting

To offer or to invite, we use “Would you like … ?” (not Do you like”):

Would you like a tea?”

Would you like to go out with me tonight?”

“I’d like” is a polite way of saying what you want:

“I’d like a table for two tonight, please.”

“I’d like to try on this dress, please.”