Can you stand up for me? / Now I'm gonna have you stand up.

Zhi

Senior Member
Chinese
Can you stand up for me?
Now I'm gonna have you stand up.

Hello everyone, I now live in the US and I'm learning to speak English. From what I heard and observed people speaking, these two sentences are supposed to sound very polite - as polite as "Could you please stand up?" However I don't understand why they are polite, because if I translate them into my language word by word, they're very rude. So can someone explain that? It's hard to find in dictionaries.
Thank you very much!
 
  • expenseroso

    Senior Member
    United States, English
    "Can you stand up for me," means something like "can you do me a favor and stand up?"
    "Now I'm going to have you stand up," is more polite than simply asking someone to stand up because it makes it sound like you're being very careful to explain why you are making the request or, at least, giving early warning.
     

    Beryl from Northallerton

    Senior Member
    British English
    I think that one of the hallmarks of English politeness is indirectness. All the above forms sub-communicate a command ('Stand up') which, if delivered directly, would register as rudeness.
     

    heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I agree with both posts above, and would add that a word-for-word translation from one language to another rarely results in a correct interpretation of the original. Much of the English we see that has been translated in this way tends to be inpenetrable nonsense, and often hilariously so. It must be a similar story translating from English into other languages.
     

    Zhi

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Thanks everybody! When translated word for word into my language, "Can you stand up for me" sounds like I want you to stand up for my good, not for your good, and "Now I'm gonna have you stand up" sounds like now I'm gonna make you stand up. The original English sentences don't have those meaning do they?
     

    frog1gsu

    Senior Member
    British English
    You're right, they're both rude. It should be "Could you stand up for me please?" and "Could you stand up please?" or even "Please could I ask you to stand?" in standard UK English. Am surprised if the phrases you quote are accepted as correct &/or polite in US!
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Can you stand up for me?
    Now I'm going to have you stand up.


    Context is all. These would be completely professional and acceptable at a physiotherapist or doctor checking the condition of someone recovering from an accident.
     
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