Where exactly to put “please” in a sentence


Speaking Courses

In English, we use the word “please” to make requests and orders more polite – but have you ever considered where exactly to put the word “please” in your sentence? In today’s lesson I’ll show you several correct places to put the word “please” as well as a couple that sound unnatural, which you should avoid.

Please is a word we use every day, so we want to use it correctly. It’s really important to know the most common words and phrases so that you can be more confident speaking English in daily life. That’s why I created the Everyday English Speaking Course, to help you know exactly what to say in lots of different situations!

As I mentioned, we can use “please” with requests (which are phrased as questions) and with orders/commands (which are phrased as sentences).

“Please” in commands

Let’s look at some examples of orders/commands:

  • Please clean your room.
  • Please finish the textbook by Friday.
  • Please contact me if you have any questions.

With orders/commands, we usually say “please” at the beginning of the sentence, and it’s especially important to include the word “please” in direct orders, otherwise they sound too direct or too commanding.

It is also possible to put “please” at the end of a command, typically when speaking (instead of writing). So before dinner, I might tell my kids “Wash your hands, please.”

“Please” in requests

Requests are phrased as questions, using “can you,” “could you,” and occasionally “would you,” although that’s less common. In these cases, we can put please in one of two places: at the end, or after “you”:

  • Could you close the door, please?
  • Could you please close the door?
  • Can you pass me that pen, please?
  • Can you please pass me that pen?

With requests/questions, we usually don’t put “please” at the beginning – so we wouldn’t normally say “Please could you close the door?” That’s not wrong… but it’s much less common, so I recommend putting “please” either at the end or after “you.”

Once place we avoid putting “please” is in between the verb and its object, so don’t say “Could you close please the door?” or “Can you turn down please the volume?” – those don’t sound natural in English, even though that word order might be fine in other languages.

Review

  • With orders/commands, put “please” at the beginning:
    Please clean your room.
  • With requests/questions, put “please” at the end or after “you”:
    Could you close the door, please?
    Could you please close the door?
  • Don’t put “please” in between a verb and its object.

Simple, right? If you have any questions, please let me know – there’s an example.

And if you want to improve your ability to speak English in lots of situations in daily life, check out my Everyday English Speaking Courses – there are actually two levels, so you can make progress and become a more advanced English speaker day by day. Bye for now!

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