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I am an international student in the U.S.A. I am writing an email and I am stuck on one sentence. I would like to say:

"Do you know when I can get the flyers?"

I would like to make the sentence more polite. Could I say:

"Would you know when I could get the flyers?"

If there are other ways to use polite language, could you please tell me? If possible, please post an online reference as a citation.

Sorry, I forgot to mention about the situation or so on. I am writing an email to someone who is going to deliver the flyers and organize an event. I'm going to promote the event with the flyers. So technically, the person who I'm emailing is kind of my boss. Thus, I think I should write a polite email to him.

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closed as primarily opinion-based by tchrist, FumbleFingers, Chenmunka, ermanen, Edwin Ashworth Feb 22 at 23:35

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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Do you want to find out a delivery-date for the fryers, or do you want the fryers? –  donothingsuccessfully Oct 2 '12 at 4:42
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Would you please let me know, at your earliest convenience, when I may expect the flyers? –  Jim Oct 2 '12 at 5:14
    
A sentence like that should be fine, so long as it's sufficiently surrounded by other polite language. Something like: kahiya jaibao re –  user66508 Feb 20 '14 at 13:23

4 Answers 4

I am not sure what you are trying to convey and who the email is addressed to. But in any case, I would phrase your question the following way to make it less direct.

Would you mind telling me when I can get the flyers.

Please tell me when I can get the flyers.

I would like to know when I could get the flyers.

Can you tell me when I will get the flyers.

Can you tell me when I can get the flyers.

Could you tell when I would get the flyers.

That said, there are hundred of ways to ask a question and every single instance will depend on the context and situation you are dealing with.

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I think the first one ("Would you mind telling me...") might read as more impatient than the O.P.'s original ("Do you know when I can get..."). Moreover, it's worth pointing out that the O.P.'s original didn't read as an impolite request, at least, not to my native ear. But I think Noah has mentioned the key point: it depends on context – some of these suggestions might seem very polite on their own, but they might read as rather awkward, or even rude, depending on the surrounding text, and the conversation at hand. –  J.R. Oct 2 '12 at 8:18

More context would be useful, but in general, "Can I get...?" implies capability, while "May I have...?" implies permission. The latter is generally considered superior in both formality and politeness. I'd therefore probably say something like:

Do you know when I may have the flyers?

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I don't think the problem is with "Do you know...", but more with "when I can get." How about:

Do you know when the flyers will be ready?

A sentence like that should be fine, so long as it's sufficiently surrounded by other polite language. Something like:

As you know, I'm responsible for planning this event. But I'm not sure when the flyers will be available. Do you happen to know when the flyers will be ready? If so, please let me know.

Your assistance is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Respectfully,

I think the letter should be cordial, but not overly polite. Language that reads too polite can sometimes seem overly flowerly, or even somewhat pretentious.

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I would suggest something like this:

Could you please tell me when may I get the flyers?

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