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How to talk about what you want

We all know someone who just seems to always be able to get what they want, without any extra effort. You probably admire them, or maybe even hate them a little bit. Asking for and then getting what you want is an art, and it takes practice! In this post I'm going to give you a few go to phrases to use the next time you are in a position where you need to ask for something, from simply ordering a coffee to asking for a raise at work.


How to order food and drink politely

The English [and also us Americans] are experts at being polite. Please, thank you and excuse me need to go in almost every sentence when you are in a public place. When you go to a restaurant, you'll notice that the waiters and waitresses are almost too nice, and that may seem strange to you, but it's generally expected that you return the favor and treat them in the same way. So next time you're ordering food in English, try using these polite expressions:

I'd like the steak, please.

I'll have the lasagna.

Is it possible to order a side salad instead of french fries?

Could I get 2 coffees to go please?


Need to convince a friend or close colleague to do something for you?

Everyone needs a favor sometimes right? It's not always easy to ask someone to do something for you, even if you are close, so next time you need to convince one of your English speaking friends to help you out, try out some of these phrases:

Would you mind helping me on this project?

Could you please give me a hand with the cleaning today?

If it's not too much trouble, could you pick up some bread on your way home?

I could really use your help on this.

Could you do me a favor?

I would really appreciate your help.


Asking for things at work or in formal settings can be daunting, but don't worry!

Asking your boss for a day off or a raise is really difficult, even in your own language! Or maybe you just need to convince your team or your manager to see things your way, and you don't want to sound bossy. Here are some useful ways to ask people to do something for you without sounding overbearing or demanding.

I think it would be a good idea to rearrange the team members' roles.

I would like you to consider the possibility of giving me more responsibility.

Motivating the employees with more incentives could be beneficial to the company.

What do you think about reaching an agreement with the counterparty?



  • asking for a raise: to ask to be paid more money at work

  • return the favor: to help someone because they helped you first

  • give me a hand: idiom - to ask for help

  • daunting: scary, difficult

  • bossy: when someone likes to give orders to other people

  • overbearing: unpleasantly overpowering

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