Are you lost? Do you want to know which bus to take, or what time the bank opens? Here are 5 English phrases you can use to ask somebody for the information you need.
1. Can you tell me…?
Could you tell me…?
This is the most common way to ask for information. You can use either can or could. Can is probably a little more informal.
“Could you tell me how to get to the train station?”
2. Can anyone tell me…? / Could anyone tell me…?
Use these phrases when you are addressing a group of people, not an individual.
“Can anyone tell me what time the bank opens?”
3. Do you know…?
Use this phrase if you’re not sure whether or not the person you’re speaking to knows the answer.
“Do you know how long the movie is?”
4. Do you have any idea…?
Do you happen to know…?
These phrases, like #3, are used if it’s possible the person doesn’t know the answer.
“Do you have any idea why today’s class was cancelled?”
5. I wonder if you could tell me…
This phrase is the most indirect.
“I wonder if you could tell me who I need to contact to talk about job openings.”