Asking for information

Sometimes you want to ask English people for information. In English it is not very polite to start a conversation with a direct question. For this reason we have a number of phrases.

10 expressions to Use In Speaking And Writing: 
  1. Can you tell me...?
  2. Could you tell me...?
  3. I'd like to know...
  4. D'you know...
  5. (Got / Have you) any idea...?
  6. Could anyone tell me...?
  7. (Do / Would) you happen to know...?
  8. I don't suppose you (would) know...?
  9. I wonder if you could tell me...?
  10. I wonder if someone could tell me...?
How To Use These Phrases In Your English: 
  1. Phrases 1 - 10 are all followed by indirect questions. So 'What's the time?' becomes 'Can you tell me what the time is?'.
  2. Phrase 2 is a little more formal and polite than phrase 1.
  3. Phrases 3, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 are polite and are good to use if you are asking a stranger or you are asking at a public information desk.
  4. Phrase 4 is more informal.
  5. Phrases 5 and 7 are more informal if you say them with out the part in () brackets.
  6. Phrases 9 and 10 are very formal and in an informal situation some people may react strangely if they think that you are being sarcastic.
  7. By using phrases 1 to 10, we make it easier for the listener to say 'Sorry I don't know'.
Elementary