In every language there are words of courtesy. Courtesy helps people connect and creates a more peaceful communicative environment. Furthermore, have you ever noticed that people just seem to respond better when we are courteous with them? Courtesy when making requests in English depends a lot on your word choices.
For example, if you say:
Give me the pen over there
It is direct and considered rude.
But, if you say:
Would you mind handing me that pen over there
It is considered polite.
Sometimes, when we learn a new language, we tend to pick up the direct speech but neglect the courteous speech. So, let's review a few expressions that will help us sound more courteous when we make requests using English.
Would you mind...
Could I ask...
Can I trouble you...
Would you mind passing the pepper.
Could I ask you to close the door.
Can I trouble you for some coffee.
NOTE: We do not use question marks with these courteous expressions because they are not interrogatives, but polite requests.