I am a non-native speaker of English. When communicating with a professor, would it be better to use could you kindly send me the document or could you please send me the document? I know both are correct, but which one shows more respect?
Both are polite, and no reasonable professor would take objection to either. If you wanted to sound a little more formal, you could say I should be most grateful if you would send me the document.
I would prefer the word please in more formal communications. Kindly would be better-suited for familiar environments.
Also, I would use the word "would" instead of "could."
If your professor knows you're not a native English speaker, he should be happy with either of those. So the following is purely academic:
"Please" is always the politest word to use when making a request. It is never wrong.
To my British ears, the following phrases have a very slightly haranguing tone (as of a nagging mother):
Would you kindly ...
Would you please ...
Could you kindly ...
Could you please ...
Whereas "Please could you..." is straightforward, conventional, polite and ubiquitous.
I prefer using kindly rather than please. The latter sounds more like begging.
protected by Community♦ Jul 2 '14 at 14:44
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