Polite Language Practice

Clare's ELT Compendium


1) Get students to read “Would you be so kind” or a similar text (best done at home) & to make a note of key phrases. The text “Would you be so kind?” can be found here: http://www.karriere.de/service/would-you-be-so-kind-108655

2) In class, brainstorm the phrases they can remember and discuss which are interchangeable, e.g.:
Could you please / Would you be able to please / I’d be grateful if you could…
I’m afraid that  / I’m sorry, but / We regret that..
Sorry to / I apologise for …

3) Also discuss various ways of showing distance to make utterances more polite, e.g.:
past tenses = I was wondering, I wanted to ask..
Maybe / Perhaps,
‘seems’ (e.g. “there seems to be a problem”)
conditionals – would / could (instead of will/want or can)

 4) See how many ways your students know of saying “please” and “thank…

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