Can / Could / Would + you?

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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.
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Asking people to do things

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

Can you wait here, please?”
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?”
Is it all right if I use your toilet?”
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.”

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The Passive
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