Lesson Transcript

Hi, everybody. My name is Alisha. In this lesson, I'm going to talk about formal request patterns. These are a few different patterns that you can use when you're making formal requests. These are great for business emails and other situations where you need to politely ask for something. I'm going to introduce the patterns, and then I'm going to share a couple of examples as well. These are not the only patterns you can use. They're just a few ideas to help you get started. Let's take a look.
Okay. First one. Let's begin with the first one. You'll see some of these patterns today, we'll use the word "would" at the beginning. Remember, we can use "would" as a common word to begin a request. The first example includes this. "Would you be so kind as to…" something. Another thing you'll see in many of these examples is the word "to" before the extra information portion. This is a great hint that we should follow this part with some verb; "to" plus the infinitive form of a verb. We'll see a lot of examples of this.
The first one, I've included "be so kind as to…" do something. This is making a request, and this part, "be so kind as to…" shows us that the speaker is asking for the kindness of the listener or the reader in doing this action, which we're about to describe. Let's look at an example of this. "Would you be so kind as to send me the files?" Here, the verb we're using is "send." As I said, we need to follow this "to" with the infinitive form of the verb "send." "And send me the files" finishes the phrase. "Would you be so kind as to send me the files?" means, "Please send me the files," but it's a more formal sounding request. You're saying, "It would be really nice of you if you would send me the files." It just means, "Please send me the files," but it sounds more polite.
Okay. Let's look at another one similar. Again, this one begins with "would" and ends with "to" in the introductory part of this pattern. However, here, we have "possible." "Would it be possible to…" This sentence, or this pattern rather, this is another way of saying "can you." But "Would it be possible to…" sounds much more formal than "can you," or in some cases, "can I." Let's look at an example of this one. "Would it be possible to discuss this later?" Again, we have this "to" here, which shows us we should use the infinitive form of the verb, the regular form of the verb, "to discuss this later."
This part, "Would it be possible to…" means can. In other words, "Can we discuss this later?" That's what this request is but it sounds more formal. "Would it be possible to discuss this later?" We're connecting. If you're using this in speech, we're connecting these sounds. "Would it be" becomes "Would it be." "Would it be possible? Would it be possible to discuss this later?" Okay. This is a good one to use for "can" situations. If you would use "can" in a regular request, you could try, "Would it be possible to" in a formal request.
Okay. Let's go along to the next one. "May we ask you to…" This is a formal way of saying "please." "Please do this thing." Again, we're ending the pattern with "to." Here, we have this confusing maybe. "May we ask you?" You know that we use "may" to ask for permission to do something, but we're also using "ask." Really, this combination makes a very soft request. Here, I'm using "we." This "we" could mean your group or your company or your department, perhaps. "May we ask you to…" is kind of making yourself sound quite humble. You're lowering yourself and making a request from the other person. But again, this just means please. We're just using a more formal expression. Again, we're going to need to use the infinitive form here because we see "to" at the end of this introductory section.
Let's look at an example. All right. "May we ask you to submit the application by tomorrow?" Again, "to," our infinitive form, and here, "May we ask you to submit the application by tomorrow?" I've phrased this as a question really. If you're using "please," you could just say, "Please submit the application by tomorrow, period not a question mark. Here, because we're being formal and polite, we say, "May we ask you to submit the application by tomorrow?" "May we ask you," it's like you're asking permission to ask for something from someone, if that makes sense. It's kind of a very soft expression. But we're phrasing this as a question here. Again, this just means, "Please submit the application by tomorrow."
Okay. Onto the next one. The next one is also a possibility expression. "Do you think you would be able to…?" Here, we see "would." "Do you think you would be able to…?" This means that in the future, you're asking about someone's future ability, something that someone could do or would be able to do in the future. "Do you think you would be able to…" verb phrase here. We should follow this with a verb. Again, this part, "Do you think you would?" this is maybe softening it, instead of, "Would you be able to?" It's, "Do you think you would be able to?"
Here as well, a pronunciation point, this "you would," we'll reduce this to "you'd." "Do you think you'd be able to…?" in speech. In writing, we can use the regular form, the non-reduced, the non-contracted form. Let's look at an example of how to use this. "Do you think you would be able to have it ready by tomorrow?" This could be a document, for example. "Do you think you would be able to have it ready by tomorrow?" If we want to make this really, really simple, "Do you think you would be able to have it ready by tomorrow?" is "Can you have it ready by tomorrow?" That's really what this means. It's just a very formal way of saying that. "Do you think you would be able to have it ready by tomorrow?" It's quite soft. It's like giving the other person a chance to say, "No, I'm really busy," but it means, "Can you?" "Can you have it ready by tomorrow? Do you think you would be able to have it ready by tomorrow?" Quite nice.
Okay. Let's move along to the next one. Again, we're starting this with "would." Another soft request pattern. "Would you have some time available to…?" This is asking about someone's schedule. "Would you have some time available to…" verb. We need to follow this with the verb. Let's look at the example. "Would you have some time available to chat about this?" Again, here's our "to," our verb, "to chat about this," in other case. This just means, "Do you have time to chat about this?" But this, "Would you have some time available in the future?" in other words, or, "Do you think that it would be possible to chat about this?" is another way to say that. Just a quite formal expression. Again, "Do you have time to chat?" in other words.
Okay. Let's move along to the next one. For very direct requests but that are also formal, we can use a pattern like this. "I would like to request." Here, you notice, there's no "to" at the end of this. We should probably use a noun phrase here. There's something that you want to receive. "I would like to request something." Example, "I would like to request your attendance at the meeting." This is a formal sentence which means, "Please come to the meeting." I would like to request. You can imagine this as meaning, "I want" or "I need" or "Please do this." "I would like to request something. I would like to request a letter. I would like to request an application form, please. I would like to request your attendance at the meeting as well." These mean I want something.
But as I've got over here, try to avoid using some of these expressions in formal requests. "I want" and "I need" can sound very casual and too direct, especially in business situations. When you're making a request, I tend to avoid using these. If you're trying to give some supporting information for your request, maybe that's okay. For example, I would like to request your attendance at the meeting because I need your approval for my project, for example. In that case, using "I need" could be okay, but if you make your request, your first introduction to your request using "I want" or "I need," in some cases, it might sound a little too direct. Please be cautious. I tend to avoid these. Same thing with "can I." "Can I" can sound a little bit casual sometimes. You can feel the situation and how close you are to the person you're speaking to or writing to.
Okay. Let's move along to the next one. The next one is great in emails and written correspondence. This is when you are maybe introducing yourself in an email or you're introducing a request in an email. "I am writing to request." This is very clear. I like to use this when I'm writing to someone that I don't know. I use this after I introduce myself. "Hi, my name is Alisha. I'm from ABC Company and I am writing to request." This is in other words, why am I writing to this person? "I'm writing to request a meeting. I'm writing to request to request this document," for example. "I'm writing to request…" noun phrase. Here, "I am writing to request a letter of recommendation." In other words, this is the thing I want. "I'm writing to request this thing." This is great to use in emails when there's some specific thing that you want, and you want to describe it quickly and clearly. That's quite nice.
All right. Let's move along to the next one. When you need to ask permission to do something, here you'll see we go back to this "to" at the end of the pattern. Meaning, we should use a verb here. "May I or may we have permission to?" In other words, is it okay to? But this is a formal way to ask permission. Example sentence, "May I have permission to use your video in an article?" Actually, I think this is similar to a comment we received on the channel. "May I have your permission to use your video in an article?" in this case. In other words, "Is it okay if I use your video in an article?" This is a much more formal, a much nicer way to ask if something is okay to do or no.
All right. Let's move on to the last pattern for today. "Could you please?" Here, you'll notice, I've used "you." You can change this. If you change this to like, "Could I please?" it means you want something, like you want to receive something. Here, you're asking for someone else to do something for you. "Could you please do something?" Example, "Could you please let me know if this is acceptable?" This part, "Let me know if this is acceptable," means, "Please let me know if this is okay." Acceptable means okay, really, but more formal. "Could you please let me know if this is okay?" is what this means.
But you can change this, this "you" to whoever like, "Could he please give me the information?" or "Could I please meet with you later?" for example. You can change this "could," this "could you" depending on the situation, depending on who is giving and who is receiving information or a favor or so on. This one, there's quite a lot of flexibility with this. Keep that in mind.
Okay. Those are a few different patterns that you can use when you're making formal requests. As I said, this is really good for business emails in formal situations. I hope that you got some new ideas. Of course, if there's something else that you like to use in your formal requests, please let us know in the comments. Thanks very much for watching this lesson and I will see you again soon. Bye-bye.

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