I have a problem, how to intensify asking for something without turning to loaded, negative begging.

Two heroic fugitives run from authorities and find a temporary hideout. Then two other brave souls full of adventurous spirit offer to take their place, throwing the pursuit off track. It's dangerous, it's generous, but hey, above all it's an adventure the two always dreamed about!

So here's what I wrote.

"Also, please don't forget you're helping us two fulfill our secret wish. We're not just offering. We are asking you humbly to let us do it!"

"Humbly" doesn't quite ring right for what I want to convey: the two are almost begging to be allowed to take up that mission. They aren't actually lowering themselves to begging, but they want it very much, and try to politely pressure the fugitives into complying.

Is there an adverb, or a phrase that would convey that better? How to make a request strong, still polite (vs 'ordering') and not groveling?

  • An additional problem (besides the one you mentioned, the low-pressure nature that humbly implies) is that humbly is misplaced; as it stands, it asks the person who replies to be humble. The phrase “We are humbly asking you”, on the other hand, says the person who asks is humble. May 8, 2014 at 19:50

6 Answers 6


I would use implore.

implore: Beg someone earnestly or desperately to do something.

But I don't feel that implore has the negative connotations of beg.


"Also, please don't forget you're helping us two fulfill our secret wish. We're not just offering. We are beseeching (or entreating) you to let us do it!"

beseech: to request urgently or earnestly

entreat: to ask earnestly; implore


I would say they insist.

It is very, very commonly used in this exact sense when people want to be polite:

After you.
No, after you!
No, I insist!


I would probably use either urge or beseech for this (though the latter is perhaps somewhat too formal in style for your needs).

I also find “us two” somewhat clumsy in this context; I would use “the two of us” (or just “us”) instead:

Also, please don’t forget that you’re helping (the two of) us fulfill our secret wish. We’re not just offering—we’re urging/beseeching you to let us do it!”

Beseech shares with beg (and implore, as per Peter Shor’s answer) the notion that they are somewhat more passively and submissively asking for permission to do it, rather than actively pushing their own wish to do it. This might not be desirable for you.



verb (used without object) [plead·ed, pled, plead·ing.] 1. to appeal or entreat earnestly: to plead for time. 2. to use arguments or persuasions, as with a person, for or against something: She pleaded with him not to take the job. 3. to afford an argument or appeal: His youth pleads for him.


making a desperate plea

Seems to have more of the tone you're after.

  • 1
    Seems to me more to have the tone he’s specifically not looking for. May 7, 2014 at 22:33

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