Part B. Requests for Action

Part B. Requests for Action

  • There are four modals, that can be used to request action. They differ in levels of politeness. Time expressions such as tomorrow, next week, next year, etc. may be used to give a future meaning.


  • Would, could: These words are formal and polite.

Could you come in?
Would you come in?

  • Can:  This word indicates familiarity and should be used with friends and family.

Can you come here?


  • Will:  This word is very familiar and is sometimes used in urgent situations. It is not appropriate to use with strangers.


There has been an accident. Will you call the police?

Of course, in very urgent situations, the request would become a command: Call the police!

Exercise 1: Imagine that you are interviewing a student who hopes to further studies abroad at an English teaching university.  How would you discuss what considerations the student would make, what he or she could make of the experience of living in a foreign country, and what the person can do to prepare for this big step?  

    1. How would you decide which country to study in?
    2. Where would you stay?
    3. How long would you stay there?
    4. How long will the course last?
    5. What would you do about your life here?
    6. How would you earn money to pay for the course and living abroad?
    7. Will you receive a certificate/diploma at the end of the course?