Asking For Things in English

Hello, Kate.

Hi, Steve.

Here we are again.

Now, in this dialogue, I would like to talk about how people should ask for things, because we are often in situations where we need information.

For example, if you go to the store, and you’re looking for the vegetable department, or you’re looking for salad, or you’re looking for fish, or you phone someone, and you need some information.

And sometimes, I think for people who are new to the language, they don’t know what the best way is.

Now if you want some information, how do you ask for it?

I would say, “Excuse me” to catch the person’s attention, as you say, the clerk, or at the supermarket.

“Excuse me.

Could you tell me?”

I would always use “could.”

Um hum.

You could say, “Would you tell me?”, but I really think the “can”, “could”

I agree with you.

“Could you please tell me?”



“Excuse me. Could you please tell me where I can find the tomatoes?”, “Could you please tell me where the tomatoes are?”, something of that sort.

You can also I think the “Excuse me” is absolutely necessary.

You can also say, “I beg your pardon”, but I think “Excuse me” is easier.

We needn’t complicate things.

It’s very standard.

“Excuse me.

And, yes, “Could you please tell me?”

“Could you please?”

I sometimes say, “Where could I find?”


“Where could I find the meat?”

Um hum.

“Where could I find coffee? “Um hum.

“I wonder if you could tell me?”, but that’s getting too complicated. Or, “Excuse me. I’m looking for such-and-such. “Right. Now, what if you were phoning someone let’s say you were phoning to enquire about the arrival time of an aeroplane? Again, I would use the same phrase.”Hello” because in a telephone conversation you’re not interrupting, whereas stepping up to someone in the store you may be interrupting, where I would use “Excuse me.”So, on the phone: “Hello. Could you tell me what time the flight from Toronto arrives? “”Could you tell me?”Yes. “Could you please tell me what time the flight from Toronto arrives? “Right.

Yeah. There are sometimes situations where you need to explain what it is you know, why it is you need something. Like, you may go to the hardware store, and let’s say that you have a problem around the house. You have a leak in your plumbing. So then you may have to say, “Excuse me, I have a leak in my plumbing. Where could I find plumbing supplies? “Absolutely.

Or at the library. I could say, “Excuse me. I’m looking for information on George Washington. Could you tell me where I could find that? “Um hum.

Now, I think those are. I’m trying to think if there are other situations like that, where there are special ways of asking, but I think the formula of, “Excuse me. Could you please tell me?”

I think you can also say to people, “Excuse me. Could you please help me? “Absolutely.

I think that’s a very good format, depending on what the situation is.Most people, if you say, “Could you please help me?”, in other words, “I need your help.”they’re quite willing to help.Oh, absolutely.That gets their attention.They should listen to you and hear the explanation of what you need.Right.

Or a simple, “Excuse me.Do you have?”something. “Do you have rice?”

“Excuse me. Do you have MacIntosh apples? “Um hum.

Okay. I think we’ve covered that. I think so. I think we’ll stop it right there. Sounds good to me. Alright. We’ll continue, and I’ll see you the next time. Sounds good. See you later. Okay. Bye!

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