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3 Comments

  • This is a useful list of requests for permission and positive responses. But asking is not the only way to do this, and in some cases, not the best or easiest way.

    One very common way of asking for permission, or asking for something, is simply to state the need or the problem: “It’s dark in here.” “Oh no, I forgot my money!”, or “I wonder if I could have a bath.”
    These may be said almost as if you are talking to yourself, and work as a prompt for people to offer help or give permission. They are often the easiest way to get the response you need. Imagine, for example, how difficult it might be otherwise to ask to borrow money from a classmate or colleague to pay for lunch!

    In pragmatics, it’s worth remembering that in real life requests are very often not shaped like requests!

  • Thanks Jim (and hello!). Yes, of course you are correct. These little posts are just a way of sharing some of the information contained in Macmillan Dictionary about how to do different things with the language. And pragmatics, as you point out, is a vast, complex and nuanced area of language use. I hope we can do more to explore this in the future. And meanwhile Happy New Year!

  • Thanks for the response, Liz. I realize space is limited, and I’ll be very glad to share the examples you provide with my students… (together with what I’ve written!) so thank you. And hello and Happy New Year to you, too 🙂