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Phrases for Polite English

Can you speak polite English? Here are some polite expressions and phrases to use in different situations.

Asking for things

You can make a request with ”can” or ”could”. You can make the request polite by saying ”please” at the end.
“Can you give me the receipt, please?”

”Could…” is a little more polite than ”can” and we use it with people we don’t know very well, or for ”big” requests.

When you say what you want, say ”I’d like” rather than ”I want”.
“I’d like a window seat, please.”

In shops, it’s polite to greet someone before asking for something. You can say ”Good morning / afternoon”, ”Hi there!” or even just ”Hi” or ”Hello’.

Saying thank you

If you aren’t sure when to say ”thank you”, it’s almost always right to say it every time someone does something for you or gives you something.

There are many ways to reply to ”thank you”. You can say ”You’re welcome”, ”Not at all” or ”My pleasure”.

Saying “no” to other people

If you can’t help someone (or need to tell them that something isn’t possible), say ”sorry” first.
“Sorry, but you can’t park here.”
“Sorry, I don’t know.” (If someone asks you a question and you don’t have the answer.)

Talking to people you don’t know

If you need to talk to someone, but you don’t know them, you can start your sentence with ”Excuse me”.
“Excuse me. Could you help me reach the jar of coffee?”


Phrases for Polite English

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Would you like more help with polite English? Check out our video below!

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