polite

Would you mind?

Here are the most common examples with explanations of ‘would you mind‘: Would you mind if I took your picture? *notice the past form ‘took’ to be polite. Listen to the pronunciation   In the English Grammar Profile, point 83 at B1 in the category of MODALITY is defined as: ‘would’ to make polite requests, often in the fixed expression ‘would you …

Would you mind? Read More »

I am asking | wanting (polite)

C2 English Grammar Profile point 38 in the category of PRESENT/continuous is defined as: POLITENESS: with verbs that are not usually used in this form to make statements and requests sound less direct. EXAMPLES: I am asking us to use our power to choose. I am asking us to level up. TED We are asking businesses not to produce and consumers not to go out and consume. TED An iWeb search for I|We am|are asking|wanting * …

I am asking | wanting (polite) Read More »

You might

In the English Grammar Profile, B1 point 92 in MODALITY is defined as: ‘might’ to make polite suggestions and give advice. We cannot automatically check a corpus for usage, but we can follow the EGP examples which both contain the pronoun ‘you’. An iWeb search for: You might * * * 1 YOU MIGHT BE …

You might Read More »

Could you possibly?

In the English Grammar Profile, B1 point 101 in MODALITY/adverbs is defined: ‘could’ + subject + ‘possibly’ to make requests more polite *This is a very rare structure across corpora for a B1 structure.  This point overlaps the more common and general: B1 questions with adverbs: Could you possibly tell me how to fix this? An iWeb search for: . Could I|you possibly * 1 . …

Could you possibly? Read More »

DO + verb (imperative)

‘Do’ can be put before the imperative verb or auxiliary to make it less abrupt and more persuasive. In the English Grammar Profile, B1 point 64 in the category of CLAUSES/imperatives is defined as: ‘DO’: base form of a main verb, for emphasis or in formal contexts A search in iWeb for: . Do _VVI …

DO + verb (imperative) Read More »

I thought… (polite)

English Grammar Profile C1 point 80 in the category of PAST is defined as: past simple ‘I thought’ as a politeness structure to sound less direct. However, there is no way to formally decide if this is actually a politeness construction.  If it is not, it might still contain B2 modal passive or B1 reporting structures. For …

I thought… (polite) Read More »

if you should

C1 points: 114 in CLAUSES/conditional is defined as: subordinate conditional clauses with ‘if you should’, in polite, formal contexts *Most of the English Grammar Profile examples include: ‘if you should have any’ (questions|concerns|problems) + don’t hesitate…’ Therefore, this is offering help or giving advice.  ‘should’ here gives a slight feeling of  ‘it is unlikely’ or …

if you should Read More »

(conditional) inverted SHOULD + WOULD clause

In the English Grammar Profile, C2 point 120 in the category of CLAUSES/conditional is defined as: inverted ‘should’, + ‘would’ in the main clause to talk about possible future outcomes, in polite or formal contexts. Example: Should they come forward, that would be a tricky situation for us. Listen In the COCA corpus we can do a …

(conditional) inverted SHOULD + WOULD clause Read More »

conjunction + past simple

In the English Grammar Profile, there are two points that overlap.  B2 point 55 is defined as: PAST simple after ‘if’ as a politeness structure, especially in letters and emails. B2 point 72 is defined as: the past simple with a range of subordinating conjunctions, including ‘as soon as’, ‘before’, ‘if’, ‘once’, ‘since’, ‘so’, ‘until’, …

conjunction + past simple Read More »

will have + PAST PARTICIPLE (future perfect)

There are 5 formally related grammar points in the English Grammar Profile in the category of FUTURE/perfect simple with ‘will.’  Many of them overlap and at C1 they are very rare and hard to find in corpora.  An example from the iWeb corpus of the future perfect form used for a polite assumption about the …

will have + PAST PARTICIPLE (future perfect) Read More »

May I?

There are four entries in the English Grammar Profile that capture “May I…?”  Point 97 are polite questions.  They probably are not really asking for permission.  119 is literally asking for permission.  Yet, for the purposes of designating a complexity level, this matters little.  The interpretation of this structure becomes more difficult once we jump …

May I? Read More »