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When are informal requests appropriate? When are formal requests? When borrowing small objects, informal requests can be used? Could you lend me your pen? When borrowing expensive objects, formal requests can be used? I was wondering if you would mind lending me your digital camera?

It that a good way to distinguish formal and informal requests? Are there any ways else? Thanks.
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Hi,

When are informal requests appropriate? When are formal requests? When borrowing small objects, informal requests can be used? Could you lend me your pen? When borrowing expensive objects, formal requests can be used? I was wondering if you would mind lending me your digital camera?

It that a good way to distinguish formal and informal requests? Are there any ways else?

I'd say a great deal depends more on the context, on the relationship you have with the person. eg Are you talking to your husband/wife/friend, to a stranger, to the Queen of England?

Best wishes, Clive
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It is totally dependent on context and your relationship with the other person. "Could you lend me your camera, please?" is perfectly acceptable in almost all circumstances. There is, of course, an obvious difference between "could" and "would", although it's largely ignored in everyday speech: "Could" implies the ability to do something whereas "would" implies the probability. So "Can you lend me your camera" implies, for example, that the camera may not be available anyway.

In fact the phrases "would you" or "would you mind" are often used to express annoyance about something.

"Would you MIND closing that door? (There's a cold draught!)"

"Would you lend me YOUR camera? (Since you just dropped mine in the river!)"

"Would you be so KIND as to mail these letters? (Since you forgot to drop them at the house!")

It's quite a difficult subject but, thankfully, in most circumstances, it doesn't matter how you express it!
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Comments  
ChariotI was wondering if you would mind lending me your digital camera?

The question mark will not come because this is not an interrogative sentence. This is a formal request and you are not asking any question.

N. Jain
Thanks people.

Could you give me a more detailed account of the context and relationships depend on which different types of requests are used.

"Could you lend me your camera?" Is this a formal way to make requests? In my textbook, it is considered as a informal request, while on an Internet page, it is considered a formal request, even more formal than "Would you please leave the door open?". Which is correct?

Request sentences beginning with "would": 1. Would you be so ki8nd as to mail these letters? 2. Would you please leave the door open? 3. Would you mind if I borrowed your car? 4. Would it be OK if I borrowed your car? 5. Would you mind letting me use your laptops? Are they equally formal? Are they all more formal than requests beginning with"could"? Thanks a lot.
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