I have a small argument about what is the most natural way, in English, to ask your wife/girlfriend to make a dinner for you (or do a different comparable favor).

Example situation: you're with your wife/girlfriend at home, maybe you have an option go out, but you really like her food and don't want to go out tonight. Your preference for today is stay at home, so you want her to cook the dinner. Of course you want to ask really nicely.

So you approach your wife/girlfriend and say ...

My version is:

Will you make me a dinner, honey?

His version:

I'd rather you made dinner now.

But what is the right one? What an native speaker would likely say?


  1. The question is purely abstract and is not about relationship advice. To be honest our wifes don't even speak English. He was practicing some grammar rules in English and asked this question to me and said my version is rude, while I feel like it's exactly the opposite.
  2. I'm interested in how to form question correctly in this particular and similar situations, especially asking wife/girlfriend. Should it be "Could you"/"Would you"/"Can you"/"Will you"/"I'd rather"/"I prefer"/something else? Which one will be the best fit and what's the difference?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Drew, WS2, Cascabel, Mitch, Hank Mar 6 '17 at 19:32

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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    Your best option is the option that your wife/girlfriend prefers. – DJClayworth Mar 6 '17 at 15:42
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    His version definitely will not come off nicely; it will come off more like a demand. Your's is nice, but I usually try to add a please in there, as it usually adds to the politeness. – Hank Mar 6 '17 at 15:43
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    Define most natural. Primarily opinion-based. – Drew Mar 6 '17 at 15:44
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    On reflection the best option is "Why don't I make dinner tonight, honey?" – DJClayworth Mar 6 '17 at 15:45
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    @DJClayworth the problem is, if you don't cook, it can sound like a threat :D – Andrey Markeev Mar 6 '17 at 15:48

The Cambridge university dictionary has a web page on making requests in English.

It says that the most common way in English to make a request is in the form of a question. It gives examples of polite usage (I have amended the actual request to suit the dining dilemma faced by OP and his friend).

Could you make dinner tonight, please?

Would you make dinner tonight, please

Would you mind making dinner tonight, please?

Do you think you could make dinner tonight, please?

It goes on to say that a more informal way of asking is:

Can you make dinner tonight?


Will you make dinner tonight?

It then goes on to give an example of how a polite boss night make a request (give an instruction).

We need you to cook dinner tonight.

Saying I want is very direct and can be impolite.

I want you to cook dinner tonight.

Another option is not to make a request but to give a command.

Cook the dinner.


Your approach, "Will you make me a dinner tonight?", is polite and informal.

Your friend's approach, "I'd rather you made dinner now", is closest to "I want" which is described as very direct and may be impolite.

I do not know what sort of relationship you and your friend have with your respective wives or girlfriends but if but if it is informal and polite (like most, I think) then your version is best, but if it is such that you speak very directly with no need for too much politeness, either because it is not intended or because it is assumed, then your friend's version is best.

If the relationship is polite but more formal then try "could you make dinner tonight, please". If you come from a culture where women do as they are told he simple command will be more appropriate.

I'd write more but my wife wants me to cook the dinner.

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