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How to Make a Request at Work

At work we often have to ask someone to do something. In this lesson we will look at how to make a request in a kind and professional way.

Use appropriate language.

When making a request at work, make sure to do it in a kind and polite way, as you don't want to sound like you are giving orders. The language you use can make a huge difference in this case.

Here are a few simple tips that will make your requests sound more polite:

  • use could instead of can

  • use indirect questions instead of direct ones

  • use please and thank you whenever possible

Useful Expressions

  • May I ask you to...?

  • Is it okay to ask for...

  • Would you mind if I...?

  • Would you mind helping me with...?

  • I was wondering if you could...

  • Could you do that for me, please?

  • Do you think you might be able to...?

  • Would it be possible to...?

  • I was hoping you could...

  • I would appreciate it if you could...

  • Would it be too much to ask...?

Be friendly and specific.

Always explain to the other person why you need their help. This will make your request sound more friendly, rather than authoritative. It is also important to be specific about what you need, and by when you need it done. Make sure to give them enough time to do what you ask.


1. How often do you have to make a request at work?

2. What kinds of requests do you usually have to make?

3. Do you feel comfortable asking someone to do something for you? 4. How do you feel when someone says 'no' to your request? 5. Is it easy for you to say 'no' to others? 6. Do you ever say 'no' to your boss?

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