Free Resources for Students and Teachers of English as a Foreign Language in China - by Paul Sparks

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Paul Sparks, Sino-Canadian International College, Guangxi University, Nanning.

Lesson Plans for "Watch, Listen & Speak"



Listening & Speaking, Making Requests: Politeness


Lesson Objectives: Students will listen for and recognize different levels of politeness.

Being Polite: Politeness in requests can be marked in a variety of ways in English, not only with the word "please". Asking other people to do things is known as making a request. Requests take many different forms and may be very polite, moderately polite or not very polite (rude).

ACTIVITY: Students form groups and look at the list of requests on the handout. They need to sort the request forms into three categories: Very Polite, Moderately Polite and Not Very Polite (there will be some differences in opinion). Sort these request forms into the three categories:


  • Won't you sit down?

  • Could you sit down?

  • Can't you sit down?

  • Sit down, why don't you!

  • Would you like to sit down?

  • Please sit down.

  • May I ask you to sit down?

  • Will you sit down?

  • Would you sit down, please?

  • Please! (gesture towards the chair to indicate sitting down)

  • I'd like you to sit down.

  • Sit down.

  • Sit down, will you.

  • Sit down would you.

  • Would you mind sitting down?

  • I was wondering if you would like to sit down.

  • Could I get you to sit down?




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