Making requests in emails and letters

We often have to make requests and ask for things in our letters and emails. To do this, we use phrases like could you and would you.

Making a request

Here we can see some examples of requests with could you and would you. Note the different levels of politeness:

very polite I would be grateful if you could send me … .
I would appreciate if you could … .
polite Could you please send me … ?
Could you send me … , please?
polite but direct Could you send me … ?
Would you send me … ?
more direct Please send me … .

Other examples of requests

I would request (+ noun)
I would request your immediate attention to the matter.
(very formal, to express dissatisfaction)
Could you possibly
Could you possibly send it before Friday?
(tentative)

Adverbs such as also and therefore can be inserted into a request as follows:

  • I would also be grateful if you could send me … .
  • I would therefore be grateful if you could send me … .
  • Could you therefore please send me … ?
  • Could you therefore send me … ?
  • Could you also send me … ?

Making more than one request in a letter or email

If you make two requests in a letter or email, the second request should include the word also, as we can see here:

Dear Mr Smith

I recently saw an advertisement for your new range of kitchen equipment.

I own a small retail shop selling household goods and am interested in buying some of your new products. Could you therefore please send me your price list? [first request]

I would also be grateful if you could include details of delivery and postage. [second request, with also]

Thank you in advance.
Best regards

See also

Stuart’s article Polite requests: Can I? May I?