Making and Responding to Requests in English (EFL/ESL Speaking Lessons)

EFL/ESL English Speaking Lessons

Making and responding to a request in English 

What is a request?

Expressing a request – A request: the action of asking someone something politely. In English, there are many ways to express a request. It also depends on the situation in which you are (formal and informal) and the person with whom you are speaking. Note that when someone makes a request, s/he is not asking a question, but s/he is asking you to do something.  For example: Can you open the door, please?

Making a request in a formal situation

  • Could it be possible to + v  (infinitive)?
  • Would it be possible to + v (infinitive)?
  • Is it possible to + v (infinitive)?
  • Would you mind + verb + (ing)?
  • I was wondering if you could + verb (infinitive)

Making a request in an informal situation

  • Can you + verb (infinitive)?
  • Would you + v (infinitive)?
  • Please, + v (infinitive)
  • Please, can you + v (infinitive)?

When someone makes a request, you have to respond by either accepting or rejecting the request. It depends on whom and the nature of the request. Note that when you respond to the request, you have to respond by action.

Accepting a request

  • Yes, of course
  • My pleasure
  • Yes, sure.
  • Absolutely
  • Certainly yes.

Rejecting a request

  • No
  • No, I can’t.
  • I can’t. I’m so sorry.
  • I’m afraid I can’t
  • I’m really sick, I just can’t

Examples of making and responding to a request in English 

  • A: Can you give me some money, please?
  • B: Yes, sure.


  • A: I was wondering if you could close the door? It is cold in here.
  • B: Of course.


  • A: would you help me with physics?
  • B: I’m so sorry, I can’t do it.

A worker speaking to the director of the company

  • The worker: I was wondering if I could get more materials? I need them
  • The director: yes, sure.



Check your understanding 



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