If you come up with an idea and hope to do it, you usually have to ask permission for it! Whether it is with your family or at school or work, you will often have to ask to get what you want because other people cannot guess what you desire.
In these cases, how can you ask for permission? Below are several ways – and the situations in which to use them – that you can ask to do something.
You have an idea of what you want to do and want to be polite
这三个词组的含义相同，但是在礼貌程度方面，每个词组的作用都略有不同。All three phrases have the same meaning, but each of them has a slightly different effect when it comes to how polite you are being.
May I (please)…?
This is usually very polite and used when you are asking someone who has authority over you for something. To make it even more polite, add the please after asking it.
May I please use the restroom?
May I go to the park with my friends today, please?
May I look over this contract and discuss it with my family members before signing it and getting it back to you?
Can I… (please)?
Asking can you do something is more direct than using may or could. In the case of a very formal situation, it may be better to stick with the other ways of asking the question, but it is acceptable in many situations. If you want to be politer, it is best to add please into the sentence, especially when you are talking to someone who has authority over you.
Can I use your pen, please?
Can I spend my weekend in Portland before traveling to Seattle?
Can I please see the detailed plans for your kitchen remodeling?
Could I… (please)?
Asking something with could is a gentler way to ask than can I. It is used the same way as can.
Could I borrow some money to pay for the dance class and pay you back next week?
Could I please watch the next episode of this show before we start cleaning the house?
Could I get another glass of water, please?
You know something that you could do and you really value the other person’s opinion
For these phrases, you are suggesting something that you want to do, or something that you could do, and trying to see whether the person you ask is approving of your suggestion or not. Asking for permission in these ways shows that you value the other person’s opinion.
Even though you already have an idea of what to do, you still want them to weigh in – to provide their opinion – on which you will base your decision. These are great phrases to use if speaking to a teacher at school or a boss at work. They show that you are not asking them to come up with the ideas for you, just to help guide your ideas in a way that works for everyone.
Would I be able to…?
Asking if you are able to do something allows the person you ask to answer either yes or no. This question respects their time and expertise, and you do not have to take up more time than they are willing to give. This is a great way to ask for permission if you are short on time or have caught the person at a busy time. [rml_read_more]
Asking this way is a great lead up question to adding in a reason why you think a certain way, which can help the person you ask better understand why you suggest what you suggest. It also allows them to give you an alternative and explain why they think another way, instead.
Would I be able to switch the color palates for the two projects? I think they fit together better that way.
Would I be able to turn this essay in on Monday next week? I will be out of town on Tuesday when the paper is due.
Would I be able to ask you to give me a hand with lifting this cabinet? It is a little heavy.
Do you mind if I…?
While the previous question asks for the opinion of the person, this question asks whether they will be bothered in you do something. The purpose of asking for permission this way is to show that you do not want to become a burden for this person. You can ask if someone minds that you do something at school or at work, and this question is also commonly used when asking a stranger if you can play your music out loud, take an empty seat at their table, etc.
当您问是否有人介意做某事时，您会表现出更多的决心去做。您不是在征求他们的许可，而我会这样做；相反，您通常已经下定决心，只是想确保您不会打扰对方。When you ask if someone minds that you do something, you show a little more determination to do it. you are not asking for their permission the way Would I be able to do; instead, you generally have made up your mind and just want to make sure you will not bother the other person.
How to Politely Refuse a Favor/Deny Permission
Saying ‘no’, is never fun, but sometimes it’s necessary. See the conversations below for some examples.
- I’m afraid I’d prefer if you didn’t / don’t.
- Sorry, but I’d rather you not do that.
- Unfortunately, I need to say no.
- I’m afraid that’s not possible.
When denying permission, people will sometimes instead offer to help in other ways, using the words “how about” and “instead” to offer alternatives.
- I’m afraid I can’t let you borrow my car, but I could drive you instead.
- I can’t babysit your daughter. How about I call my sitter for you instead?
- I wish I could help out; maybe another time.