Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

make a polite request in English

Have you ever had to make a polite request?

Do you want to know how to politely ask for something in English?

Are you wondering if there are certain things to say to get people to help you in a specific way?

We’re going to look at what you can say in making a polite request and to try and get action out of this request.


We have a question from a listener that can help you with this very situation. 

Hi girls!

I don’t believe that finally I am writing to you! I’ve been listening to your ‘show’ for only 3 months (actually I learned about the existence of podcast itself by that time ) but it seems like I’ve known you forever. I feel comfortable with you and I am sure that I’ve been learning a lot.

Well I feel that I could write for hours, but I don’t want to bother you that much. So let me go straight to my doubts:

  1. I wanted to request a certain teacher for my daughter’s at her school next year.

Could I say: “I would like to ‘ask for’ miss …. to be my daughter’s teacher?” Is it right to say so? Or should I use the verb ‘request’.




Many Times Requests Are Necessary

It may be that you have a request to move an appointment time.

How do you make this sort of request?

Are there certain things that you should say in order to make this happen?

There are certain times when a special request may be necessary. A few of these might include:

  • Requesting a certain teacher for your child (such as in the letter)
  • Changing an appointment time
  • Asking your landlord to bend a rule such as to allow you to sublet your apartment
  • Asking a friend for a special favor
  • Asking for something specific at work to help you to do your job better
  • Asking for a different class schedule in school


These Are The Bigger Requests 

We’re talking about bigger requests in this situation.

We’re not just talking about asking somebody to help you carry groceries.

Smaller requests can be accomplished with using words such as “please” and “thank you.”

The requests we’re talking about here are more about direct, specific, and bigger things that you are asking for.

When it comes to the bigger requests, there are different words and phrases that help you to communicate things more efficiently.


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Different Ways To Make The Same Request

When it comes to a special request, there are different ways to make them.

They all make take on a different tone, but they ask for the same sort of thing.

Here are three different ways to make a polite request such as in the example provided in the letter.

  • I would like to request to have Miss Brown as my daughter’s teacher (formal, could also be written)
  • Can I make a request? I’d like to have Miss Brown as my daughter’s teacher (more spoken, but still polite and formal)
  • Would it be possible for Miss Brown to be my daughter’s teacher? (gentler but still direct in the request)


What do all of these have in common?

All of these are situations where you are asking for an exception or special help.

Maybe you don’t have much control or power in the situation, so you really need to word things correctly. 



What kind of request are you making?

If it’s a bigger or very specific request, then you need to consider that.

Smaller requests such as asking somebody to open a door are easier and require fewer words.

The bigger requests have certain ways to be worded to get what you want.

Start to differentiate the language that you use with such a request.

You want to be polite and know what kind of language to use in helping you to make the better connection.

Knowing what to say can help you to get what you want and ask for it in the best way possible.


If you have any questions, please leave them below in the comments section.

We’ll get back with you as soon as we can. 

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