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In writing, I need to request that my doctor perform several tasks for me as soon as reasonably possible. I am almost completely sure they will be willing to perform all these tasks.

I don't want to sound pushy or demanding.

As such, I started writing a list for him, with each item beginning with "Can you please [task]?". The problem with this is that it is a question. What I really want to write is "Please [task].", but to me, that sounds too demanding.

In English, what is a good way to politely request that another person promptly perform a task without sounding pushy or demanding.

  • That's how people speak, they often phrase instructions to people as questions. "Can you pass the salt?" does not mean what it literally means. If your boss says "Could you get this done by Friday?" it's most likely an instruction or demand. If you absolutely must avoid a question form, you can say "I'd appreciate [you getting this task done]/[you doing this task]/[it if you could do (task)]. Also, grateful, or "I'd be in your debt". – Zebrafish Mar 13 at 5:32
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    Have you seen Interpersonal Skills.SE? That might be helpful... – marcellothearcane Mar 13 at 7:06
  • @marcellothearcane Yes. It was a tough choice whether to post on this SE or that one. – RockPaperLizard Mar 13 at 11:22
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When making a request, starting off with "Could/can you please [task]" would be best.

Here is a link to the difference between 'can' and 'could' in this context, with 'could' being a bit more polite. 'Can' would also be fine to use however.

Then, you can add something like "as soon as you are able to", or add a reasonable but short time-frame that you'd like the task completed by. If it's urgent, say the day you need the task done by- but hopefully you'd able to make a request before it's super urgent.

ex.

"Could you please send the prescriptions to the drugstore by sometime next week?

Thank you, YourName"

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