How To Sound Polite In English?

Being polite in English

Although spoken English is quite informal, formal language is used when you wish to be polite.

  • Could you please tell me the time, please? (Much more polite than ‘Please tell me the time’.)
  • Would you please move a bit?
  • Could you wait a little longer?

A common way of making requests and questions more polite is to use past verb forms like would and could.

  • Could you please open the window? (More polite than ‘Can you please open the window?’)

Another way of making requests more polite is to use yes/no questions.


  • It would be better to paint it green. (Direct suggestion)
  • Wouldn’t it be better to paint it green? (Yes/no question – very polite)

Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I am Manjusha. This is my blog where I give English grammar lessons and worksheets.

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