I would be grateful "if you could give / for any ..." [polite expression?]

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Amy715, Jul 6, 2010.

  1. Amy715

    Amy715 Junior Member

    Scotland
    Chinese
    I would be very grateful if you could give me some feedback for my plan.
    I would be very grateful for any feedback you could might be able to give me on my plan.

    Is there any difference between these two sentences, many thanks.
     
  2. teatom

    teatom Senior Member

    Bogota Colombia
    German, fluent in English and Spanish
    Both formulations are alright, the second one is better (especially if you avoid the redundancy of COULD / MIGHT BE ABLE TO. Both mean the same and you can only one of them!
     
  3. Amy715

    Amy715 Junior Member

    Scotland
    Chinese

    Why the second one is better, because the first one is written by me, I feel a little bit frustrated. :(
     
  4. teatom

    teatom Senior Member

    Bogota Colombia
    German, fluent in English and Spanish
    I helped many people to pass the IELTS/TOEFL tests suggesting ot replace "can" with "be able to". This formulatin always sounds more knowledgeable. Good luck!
     
  5. Majorbloodnock Senior Member

    South East England
    British English
    In that case, let's standardise your two sentences. As well as changing "if you could give me" to "for", you have changed the question slightly, and that is making the answers less clear.

    "I would be very grateful if you could give me some feedback on my plan." is the same as "I would be very grateful for some feedback on my plan.", although the second sentence is better simply because it uses fewer words.

    The same applies for "I would be very grateful if you could give me any feedback you could might be able to give me can on my plan." and
    "I would be very grateful for any feedback you could might be able to give me can give me on my plan.", although my alternative suggestion on the phrasing both reduces the number of words and avoids repetition of "could".
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2010
  6. Amy715

    Amy715 Junior Member

    Scotland
    Chinese

    I guess one reason for that could be because "be able to" can be used for any tense, whereas "can" is for present tense only. :)

    Thank you teatom.
     
  7. Amy715

    Amy715 Junior Member

    Scotland
    Chinese

    That is very interesting, Majorbloodnock!

    Here is my understanding after reading your explanation.

    “I would be very grateful if you could give me some feedback on my plan.” This is a conditional sentence. It sounds like I was pushing people to give me advices; otherwise I will not be thankful. In that case I do not think this sentence is very polite.

    “I would be very grateful for any feedback you can give me on my plan.” This is NOT a conditional sentence, so should not make people feeling like me putting pressure on them.

    “I would be very grateful for any feedback you could be able to give me on my plan.” Because “could” has always been used in a question to ask somebody to do something, the use of could in this way should be very polite I suppose.
     
  8. Majorbloodnock Senior Member

    South East England
    British English
    Not quite. The conditional is because you're not sure if they're prepared to give you feedback, and if they chose not to then you wouldn't be grateful. In practice, it would be considered very polite.



    That's correct.

    "Could be able to" isn't good English. "Might be able to" is better in this context, but would be only be used if you don't know whether or not the person is in a position to be able to give feedback. If you know they're able, and the only question is whether they're prepared to or not, then "can" is appropriate. Therefore, the gratefulness is conditional on the person's willingness to help, not their ability to, and so is once again considered polite.
     
  9. teatom

    teatom Senior Member

    Bogota Colombia
    German, fluent in English and Spanish
    "Can" and "be able to" are synonym. You can only use one at a time. Or would you say a tall skyscraper, or a fast race car? Or: I saw-watched a movie. In connection with a modal verb you can only saY I will/am going to/ should/may/might/would like...to be able to but not: can / could be able to.
     
  10. Giorgio Spizzi Senior Member

    Italian
    No, teatom, "can" and "be able to" are not synonyms/synonymous.
    As you should know only too well, "can" has to do with potentiality and it's a modal; "be able" has to do with the realization of that potentiality and it's not a modal.
    If I want you to try to convince your fiancée that I'm not a criminal, I won't say "If you can convince her, I'll be very grateful", but rather "If you are able to convince her...!".
    Best.
    GS
     
  11. Amy715

    Amy715 Junior Member

    Scotland
    Chinese


    Thank you, Majorbloodnock.
    Now I see! There are so many different ways I can use to express myself! :)
     
  12. Amy715

    Amy715 Junior Member

    Scotland
    Chinese

    So NO tall skyscraper, NO fast race car?
    How about funny comedians and romantic love stories? :confused:
     
  13. Majorbloodnock Senior Member

    South East England
    British English
    Amy, please forgive me if you were being flippant, but I'll clarify on the assumption this is a real question.

    What Teatom wrote is incorrect. People might well talk about a tall skyscraper or a fast racing car. "Can" and "be able to" are indeed synonymous in some situations, but that doesn't mean they can never be used together; it's just that the meaning changes.

    "I could be able to" means that it is conceivable that I might gain the ability to do something. It's perfectly grammatically correct, but is not what you were trying to say in your original sentence.

    Oh, and you're right about funny comedians and romantic love stories; both are perfectly valid combinations.
     
  14. teatom

    teatom Senior Member

    Bogota Colombia
    German, fluent in English and Spanish
    I'd love to see a SLOW RACE CAR, or a DISTRESSING COMEDIAN or a LOW SKY SCRAPER. or a QUARRELSOME LOVESTORY. Who can help me?
     
  15. Majorbloodnock Senior Member

    South East England
    British English
    Racing cars are built for speed. Some manage it better than others. If you're watching a motor race in which a more successful car is overtaking a less successful one, you might easily distinguish between the two by saying "the fast racing car" and "the slow racing car".

    Look at the Manhattan skyline and you'll see that not all skyscrapers are the same height. You could easily say that "XYZ tower is, by today's standards, a rather low skyscraper".

    I agree that there are often times when something's natural attributes will make certain adjectives unnecessary, but it doesn't mean there's anything grammatically wrong with using the unnecessary adjectives. You're confusing logical sense with grammatical correctness, and even then I'm afraid you're using flawed logic.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2010

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