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:
- Can you tell me...?
- Could you tell me...?
- I'd like to know...
- D'you know...
- (Got / Have you) any idea...?
- Could anyone tell me...?
- (Do / Would) you happen to know...?
- I don't suppose you (would) know...?
- I wonder if you could tell me...?
- I wonder if someone could tell me...?
How To Use These Phrases In Your English:
- Phrases 1 - 10 are all followed by indirect questions. So 'What's the time?' becomes 'Can you tell me what the time is?'.
- Phrase 2 is a little more formal and polite than phrase 1.
- 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.
- Phrase 4 is more informal.
- Phrases 5 and 7 are more informal if you say them with out the part in () brackets.
- 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.
- By using phrases 1 to 10, we make it easier for the listener to say 'Sorry I don't know'.