Free Resources for Students and Teachers of English as a Foreign Language in China - by Paul Sparks

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Paul Sparks - Online English Lesson Plans, Lesson Material and Ideas for Oral English Lessons, Hunan University of Science and Technology...



ORAL ENGLISH: Making Requests - Politeness

Lesson Objective:
Students will recognize different levels of politeness.

Being Polite: Politeness in requests can be marked in a variety of ways in English, not only with the word "please". Asking other people to do things is known as making a request. Requests take many different forms and may be very polite, moderately polite or not very polite (rude).

Students form groups and look at the list of requests on the handout. They need to sort the request forms into three categories: Very Polite, Moderately Polite and Not Very Polite (there will be some differences in opinion). Sort these request forms into the three categories:


  • Won't you sit down?

  • Could you sit down?

  • Can't you sit down?

  • Sit down, why don't you!

  • Would you like to sit down?

  • Please sit down.

  • May I ask you to sit down?

  • Will you sit down?

  • Would you sit down, please?

  • Please! (gesture towards the chair to indicate sitting down)

  • I'd like you to sit down.

  • Sit down.

  • Sit down, will you.

  • Sit down would you.

  • Would you mind sitting down?

  • I was wondering if you would like to sit down.

  • Could I get you to sit down?

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