How to Ask for Things

Asking for things in English doesn’t need to be stressful. Just remember some key phrases, and you’ll be able to deal with most situations smoothly and confidently!

Expression  ask  for  things

  • …. Do you know if…?
  • …. Do you have…?
  • …. Do you accept …. (credit cards)?
  • …. Is this the right way for…. (the Post Office)?
  • …. Could you tell me if …. (there’s a Post Office near here)?
  • …. Would you mind …. (keeping an eye on my luggage?)
  • …. I wonder if you could …. (move your suitcase a little.)
  • Excuse me, do yo have this dress in a smaller size?” (In a shop)
  • Excuse me, do you know where the nearest bank is?” (On the street)
  • Hello. I’d like some information about… (ask for something)
  • Can I have….  (ask for something)
  • Three stamps for Europe, please. (ask for something)
  • (Good morning.) How can I help you?  (greeting)
  • What can I do for you? (offering)
  • Will that be all? (need anything else)
  • (Is there) anything else?  (need anything else)
  • (Hello.) Can / Could I have ….. please? (Falling intonation)
  • (Good morning.) Can / Could you give / get me ….. please? ( help)
  • (Good evening.) A table for two, please (help)

Responding to questions

You ask for something, then the person you have asked needs more information. He or she asks you a question. If you haven’t expected this, you can “play for time” – say something to give you time to think. Say something like “Oh”, “Ah”, “Um”, or “Er” to give you a second or two to formulate an answer. Remember, complete silence makes the other person feel uneasy!

You: “Two tickets to Glasgow, please.”
Clerk: “Single or return?”
You: “Um, return please. We’re coming back tomorrow.”

(You are at the bureau de change)
Clerk: How would you like your money?
You: Oh, er, three tens and a five, please.

You: “Hello. Can I have a leaflet about London museums, please.”
Clerk: “Sure. Anything else?”
You: “Um, do you have any information about musicals?”

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