Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Usually, I send to a client "Cover Letter" with phrase "May I get the details?", if I need to get more information about his project. Suddenly, I have discovered that it is not very polite. And now I can not understand - which phrase is best to polite and formal request for the information?

I found some variants:

  1. Could you please give me the details?

  2. Could I please get the details?

  3. May I please get the details?

  4. Do you mind if I get the details?

I can not decide which is best to use in this situation, and will be acceptable both in US and British English.

share|improve this question

closed as not constructive by Mark Beadles, Cameron, tchrist, MετάEd, Daniel Oct 13 '12 at 18:59

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

1  
This question is likely to solicit many equally good answers rather than a single best answer, and should possibly be made Community Wiki or closed Not Constructive. –  MετάEd Sep 25 '12 at 19:10

7 Answers 7

'I should be grateful if you would send me the details.'

share|improve this answer
2  
Or, in North American English, "I would be grateful if you could send me the details." –  JAM Sep 21 '12 at 1:51

I see nothing wrong with "May I get the details?"—but customs differ in different environments.

I'm fond of "Would it be possible for me to get . . .?"

This does my correspondent the courtesy of recognizing that what I'm requesting is something of an imposition and may not be "possible" (or, more likely, convenient) for him with his busy schedule.

At the same time it presents a mild challenge: nobody likes to admit that anything is impossible—unless, of course, it actually is impossible, for reasons which he will be happy to supply, in order to displace my disappointment on some third party.

share|improve this answer
    
No, in my case, it is 100% possible for him to give me details, i.e., I am not requesting something what I need, I am just getting in touch with him and letting him know something that means "I am here, ready to work and I want get full information". –  ED503 Sep 20 '12 at 20:58

In American English, there is nothing impolite in your statement.

The term get might, just might, be though of as a bit demanding, but it would have to be a very sensitive recipient to take offense at it.

The word have is slightly gentler. Adding please almost always helps.

"May I please have the details?"

As noted in other answers, adding reasons and how this will benefit the responder can also help achieve a positive reaction.

share|improve this answer

The context would affect it; but for e.g. in a case where you are asking them to file a ticket:

Note that you can file a bug report here{link to url}, please include all relevant details to help us in our investigation.

This points out why you are asking for the info. If there is specific information that people tend to leave out, you should refer to that (include ... details such as X, Y & Z) to assist them in figuring out what is pertinent.

share|improve this answer

In my opinion "I/We would appreciate more details" is a good substitute. Treating the "details" linguistically as a physical object that someone "gives" to you, and as something that you "get", seems to be a source of the informality; the phrasing I am offering avoids doing this, at least explicitly.

Note also that this is not a request, but rather a statement of what you would prefer. This (in my mind) adds formality.

share|improve this answer

The first seems most polite, because it draws attention away from your own needs.

share|improve this answer
    
"give me" strikes me as a bit sharp –  JoshP Sep 20 '12 at 20:58

"Pass along" is a good alternative to give or get.

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.