Useful Constructions: Ways of Being Polite
A: Sorry I’m late.
B: That’s OK. The others aren’t here yet.
A: Excuse me, I think that’s my seat.
B: Oh, I’m so sorry! I thought it was free.
A: %&$£ ?*é§+*#
B: Pardon? What did you say?
Degrees of politeness.
A plain imperative is very direct. It can be made more ‘polite’ by using yes/no questions, and by creating ‘distance’ between the speaker and the hearer.
Sign here.(most direct)
Sign here, please.
Could you sign here?
Would you sign here, please?
Would you mind signing here?
I wonder if you would mind signing here?(most polite)
You can politely ask a favour in a similar way.
Could you possibly give me a lift to the station?