Which one is best and why ?.

Can you please explain me or

Could you please explain me.

  • 3
    Both are ungrammatical, so neither one is better. Could is felt by some people to be more polite in a request than can. But you should get the grammar right before you worry about abstract points of politeness. Explain does not take an indirect object, and therefore you have to say explain to me, not *explain me. It's a common mistake, but not something a native speaker would ever say, unless they were making fun of someone's accent. Jun 5, 2015 at 18:31
  • 2
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is asking for the better of two ungrammatical sentences.
    – Chenmunka
    Jun 5, 2015 at 19:36
  • If you want to preserve your aspect of the question that involves using "explain me," please consider revising the question to ask why that phrase isn't used in idiomatic English. If instead you are especially interested in whether "can you please explain to me" or "could you please explain to me" is preferable, please add the preposition "to" to your question (both in the header, twice, and in the body of the question, twice).
    – Sven Yargs
    Jun 7, 2015 at 1:07

2 Answers 2


This is a bit hard to understand, but I'm assuming you meant to write

Can you please explain it to me?

Would you please explain it to me?

If this is what you meant to write, then would means that you would like someone to explain it to you. Can, in context, would refer to if you can explain it. In other words, can sounds more demanding and would means it's optional or something.

  • I disagree - I think the question is about the difference between can and could not can and would... but I might be wrong...
    – tom
    Jun 5, 2015 at 18:15
  • Maybe you're right...I only corrected some grammatical errors and provided a brief description...
    – ethanc
    Jun 5, 2015 at 18:18
  • but I think your answer is also helpful and the can vs would question is also interesting +1
    – tom
    Jun 5, 2015 at 18:26

As noted by Relentive you missed a 'to' in each sentence.

So the differences between

  • Can you please explain to me?


  • Could you please explain to me?

In the second sentence the verb (could) is in the conditional tense (I think) - but can is in the present (I think).

The difference in meaning is small.

'Could you' is more polite than 'Can you' and it sounds better - particularly if you are asking someone to do something for you.

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