Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Do you use the phrase “I wonder if…” to make a polite request in English?

If you use this phrase for that purpose it makes you sound old fashioned and irrelevant.

Today get six alternative phrases to make a request that are more up to date and modern.


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Here is the phrase that you should avoid using: “I wonder if you could tell the correct word” or “I wonder if you could get me a drink.”

This phrase sound old fashioned and indirect.

It does not sound strong enough.

Actually the phrase “I wonder if…” is used to contemplate or ponder something. It’s not used to make a request in modern American English.

For example, we might say “I wonder if there is life on other planets.” or “I wonder if I will ever get married.”


Here are some better phrases to make polite requests in English:

  • “Do you mind…?.”
  • “Would you mind…?
  • “Could I…?”
  • “Would it be ok if…?”
  • “Would it be possible…?”
  • “Would you be willing to…?”

These are better and more modern ways to make a request in English.

Listen to the episode to get role plays of Michelle and Lindsay using these phrases in a real conversation.


What other ways do you know to make a polite request in English?

Let us know in the comments below.

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