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Ways of asking questions and making requests

anyway

adverb

used for asking about the real reason for something

what has/will become of

used for asking what has happened to someone or something, because you have not seen them for a long time, or what will happen to them, because you are worried about them

do with

used for asking what arrangements someone makes for something

do with

used for asking where someone puts something

do with

used for asking how someone uses something

what someone does with themselves

used for asking how someone spends their time

what is someone doing with something?

used for asking why someone has something

what someone is going to do with someone

used for asking how you are going to make someone behave better

what’s got into someone?

used for asking why someone is behaving in an unusual or annoying way

where has something/someone got to?

used for asking where something or someone is

what (has) happened to something

used for asking where something is

what/whatever happened to someone

used for asking where someone is now and what they are doing

what/whatever happened to something

used for asking why something does not happen or exist now

how

adverb, conjunction

used for asking or talking about the method of doing something

how

adverb, conjunction

used for asking or talking about the way that someone behaves or the way that something happens

how

adverb, conjunction

used for asking or talking about the way in which one thing is different from or similar to another

how

adverb, conjunction

used for asking or talking about the way that someone or something looks or sounds

how

adverb, conjunction

used for asking or saying what quantity, distance, age etc something is, or to what degree something is true

how

adverb, conjunction

used for asking what someone thinks about an experience

innit

a way of saying ‘isn’t it?’

just

adverb

used for making a request more polite

keep

verb

used for asking if someone is well

kindly

adverb

used for asking someone to do something, especially when you are trying to hide the fact that you are annoyed

kindly

adverb

used for making a polite request

may

modal verb

used when making a polite request or offer

maybe

adverb

used for asking someone to do something, without saying directly that you want them to do it

might

modal verb

used for very politely asking permission to do something

not

adverb

used for forming a question when you expect the answer to be ‘yes’

not

adverb

used for forming questions that show you think someone should have done something

perchance

adverb

an old word meaning ‘perhaps’ or ‘by any chance’

perhaps

adverb

used when you are making a suggestion, giving advice, or making a polite request

please

interjection

used as a polite way of asking for something or of asking someone to do something

please

interjection

used for asking someone to stop doing something annoying

possibly

adverb

used for asking someone to do something that you think might not be convenient for them

pray

adverb

used for asking a question or for telling someone to do something

prithee

interjection

an old word meaning ‘please’

trouble

verb

used for making a polite request

well

interjection

used for asking a question or for asking for an explanation

what

adverb, determiner, interjection, predeterminer, pronoun

used for asking which thing, action, or idea something is, or which type of thing, action, or idea something is

when

adverb, conjunction

used for asking at what time something happens

when

adverb, conjunction

used for asking in what kind of situation something happens

whence

adverb, conjunction

an old or literary word meaning ‘from where’

where

adverb, conjunction

used for asking what place someone or something is in, or what place they go to

where

adverb, conjunction

used for asking about or referring to a situation or a point in a process, discussion, story etc

where

adverb, conjunction

used for asking or saying what the origin of something is

whereabouts

adverb

used for asking where someone or something is, especially when you are not expecting a very exact answer

which

determiner, pronoun

used for asking for a specific choice from a limited number of possibilities

whither

adverb

an old word meaning ‘to which place’

whither

adverb

a word used for asking what will happen to something in the future

why

adverb

used for asking the reason for something

yes

adverb

used for asking someone what they want, for example in a shop. ‘Yes’ can sound impolite if it is expressed as a question

after you

used for asking someone if you can use or have something when they have finished with it

any chance of...?

used for asking someone to give you something or do something for you

any luck?

used for asking someone if they were able to get or do something

any requests?

used for asking someone if they want anything

a penny for your thoughts

used for asking someone what they are thinking about

by any chance

used when you are asking questions to find out whether something is true

(do) you mean...?

used for saying what someone else has said using different words, as a way of asking them if you have understood it correctly

do you think...?

used for asking someone politely to do something

do you think...?

used for asking someone’s opinion

excuse me

used for politely asking someone to move so that you can get past them

hands up

used for asking people to tell you if they want something

hands up

used for asking people to tell you if they know the answer to a question

happen to do something

used for asking something politely

(has the) cat got your tongue?

used when someone does not speak when you expect them to

how’s tricks?

used when you meet someone to ask how they are

how about...?

used for asking about another aspect of the situation that you have started to discuss

how about...?

used for asking about another person or thing, in addition to the ones that have already been mentioned

how are you placed for doing something?

used for asking whether someone can do something

how are you placed for something?

used for asking whether someone has enough of something

how do you like...?

used for asking someone for their opinion or their reaction to something

how do you mean?

used for asking someone to explain what they have said

how is someone (doing)?

used for asking about someone’s health

how many

used for asking or talking about the number of people, things etc that there are

how much

used for asking or saying what the amount of something is

how much is/are...?

used for asking the price of something

I don’t suppose

used as a polite way of making a request or asking a question, when you are not sure that you will get a positive answer

in aid of

used for asking what something is for or why something is happening

I want...

used as a direct and rather rude way of asking for something. The polite phrase is ‘I would like’...

I wonder if/whether

a polite way of asking someone for something such as information or their opinion, or asking them to do something

I would be obliged (if)

used when you are asking someone politely to do something

I wouldn’t mind something

used for asking for something politely

let’s hear it

used for telling someone to say what they are thinking

let’s see

used for asking someone to show you something

lost your tongue?

used for asking someone why they are not saying anything, especially when they usually say what they think

or what?

used at the end of a question when you are impatient to find out what is really happening

see your way (clear) to do something

used when you are asking someone if they would be willing to do something

how are things/how’s it going/how are you doing?

used for asking someone about their progress or their general situation

how so?/how’s that?

used for asking someone to explain the reason for the statement they have just made

is it/would it be possible?

used for asking politely if you can do something or have something

I/we etc would appreciate it if...

used for politely asking someone to do something, especially when you are slightly annoyed

I/we would be grateful if...

used for asking someone formally and politely to do something

(just) as a matter of interest/(just) out of interest

used for saying that you are asking a question because you are interested in finding out the answer and not for any other reason

perhaps someone would care to do something/would someone care to do something?

used for asking someone to do something, in a way that shows that you are angry or upset

what now?/now what?

used for asking what should be done next

what (on earth)/whatever possessed you (to do something)

used for asking someone why they did something when you think they made a serious mistake

what/where/when do you think?

used for asking for someone’s opinion

what/where/when etc exactly

used for asking someone for more details about something

what/who/where etc might...?

used for asking someone to tell you something, especially when you think they do not want to tell you

who/what/where etc do you suppose?

used for asking someone what they think about something

would you be so good as/would you be good enough to do something

used for asking someone very politely to do something

sorry to bother you

used for politely asking someone to do something for you, especially someone you do not know

tell me

used when you are going to ask a question

what’s doing?

used for asking what events are taking place

what’s eating someone?

used for asking why someone is annoyed or unhappy

what’s it worth (to you)?

used for asking someone what reward they will give you if you do what they want

what’s your/his/her game?

used for asking someone what their true intentions are when you think they are not being honest

what’s stopping you (from doing something)?

used for asking why someone does not do something

what’s the crack?

used for asking someone what is happening or what has happened recently

what’s the damage?

used for asking someone how much you have to pay them

what’s the rush?

used for asking someone why they are hurrying to do something, and usually for telling them to slow down

what’s up?

used for asking what is wrong

what’s (up) with someone?

used for asking why someone is behaving in a strange way

what’s (up) with something?

used for asking someone for an explanation about something

what’s wrong?

used for asking why something such as a machine is not working

what’s wrong?

used for asking someone why they do not approve of something you are doing

what’s wrong?

used for asking someone who looks ill or sad to tell you what problem they have

what do you mean?

used for asking someone to explain what they have said

what do you want?

used for asking someone in a rude way why they need to speak to you or to see you

what for

used for asking the reason for something

what gives?

used for asking what is happening in a situation

what have you got to say for yourself?

used for asking someone what explanation or excuse they have for their bad behaviour

what if...?

used for asking what would happen in a particular situation

what if...?

used for asking what would happen in a particular situation, especially an unpleasant situation

what is it now?

used for asking someone what they want after they have already asked you about other things. This expression shows that you are getting annoyed

what is someone/something like?

used for asking about the qualities or features of a person or thing

what is someone/something doing...?

used for asking why someone or something is in a particular place because you think they should not be there

what price...?

used for asking whether something that someone has achieved was worth all the problems it caused

where does someone go from here?

used for asking what someone can do next in a particular situation, especially a difficult one

would you be kind enough to do something

used for asking someone to do something in a very polite and formal way

would you care for something

used for asking politely whether someone would like something

would you care to do something

used for asking politely whether someone would like to do something

would you mind

used for asking politely for something

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