Requests and replies
We use different expressions to introduce a request — it depends who we are talking to, and
the ‘size‘ of the request (‘big‘ or ‘small‘). These are some of the most common (the ‘small’requests first), with suitable positive and negative replies.
A: Could you pass me the salt?
B: Yes, sure.
A: Could I (possibly) borrow your dictionary?
B: Yes, of course. or Yes, help yourself (= yes, take it)
OR: Go ahead.
A: Do you think you could possibly lend me two or three pounds?
B: Yes sure.
OR: I’m afraid I can’t / I’m afraid not / I haven’t any money on me at all. / I wish I could but,… / I’m sorry but,…
A: I was wondering if I could (possibly) leave work half an hour early today.
OR: Would you mind if I left work …
B: Yeah, no problem. or Well I’d rather you didn’t (actually), because …
Invitations and replies
We believe that an example worth a thousand explanations, so let’s consider and learn from this situation:
A: Would you like to go out this evening?
B: Yeah great / lovely / I’d love to
OR: I’m sorry I can’t.
A: We’re going to a restaurant and we were wondering if you’d like to come with us?
B: I’d love to, but I’m afraid I can’t.
OR: Oh, I’m afraid I have to look after my younger sister.
Suggestions and replies
Here are some common ways of asking for and making suggestions (= ideas for things to do/say/make, etc.) and suitable replies.
1. Asking for suggestions
What shall we do tonight?
Where shall we go this evening?
2. Making suggestions
We could go to the leisure centre and watch the basketball.
Why don’t we try that new club in the main square?
How about (or what about) going to the cinema?
Note: How/What about + -ing
Yeah, great / fine / OK / that’s a good idea.
Yeah, if you like. (= if you want to go, then I’m happy to go)
Yes, I don’t mind. (= I have no preference)
I think I’d rather (= I would prefer to) go out for a meal.
Note: In this situation, learners often say ‘it’s the same for me‘. We don’t use this expression
in English; we say I don’t mind.
Correct the mistakes in this dialogue.
Complete these dialogues with a suitable word or phrase.
A: OK. Where …………. we go on Saturday?
A: What ……….. you like to do this weekend?