13 set 2021

Softening the messages

Sometimes we want to express ourselves in a tactful, polite way. We don’t want to be too direct or confrontational.

Could you possibly lend me some money? is less direct than Lend me some money.

Let’s see some other examples on how to soften what we want to say:

Instead of DO YOU MIND IF I OPEN THE WINDOW? use WOULD YOU MIND IF I OPENED THE WINDOW?

Instead of I WANT TO SPEAK TO YOU use I WANTED TO HAVE A WORD WITH YOU, IF THAT’S ALL RIGHT.

Observe these other sentences and check how the degree of formality varies:

CAN YOU HELP ME?
COULD YOU HELP ME?
I WONDER IF YOU COULD HELP ME.
I WAS WONDERING IF YOU COULD POSSIBLY HELP ME.
IT’S A BAD IDEA.
I’D SAY IT’S A BAD IDEA.
I’D HAVE SAID IT WAS A BAD IDEA IF YOU HAD ASKED ME.

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