Asking a favour

In this video, Noelia asks Paul for some help. Listen to the language Noelia uses to ask a favour and practise saying the useful phrases.

Do the preparation exercise first. Then watch the video and do the exercises to check your understanding and practise the language.


Ana: Hi! I'm Ana. Welcome to What to Say!

Do you know what to say when you want to ask a favour? Listen out for useful language for asking a favour. Then, we'll practise saying the new phrases – after this.


Noelia: Paul, have you got a minute? I need a favour.

Paul: I'm a bit busy, but sure, what can I help you with?

Noelia: So, you know the branding job for Active Arctic?

Paul: Of course. It was so good to finally finish that project. It went on and on and on … 

Noelia: Yeah, so … look, I'm really sorry about this, but they want some more changes made.

Paul: Seriously? I've already rewritten that copy, I don't know, like, 20 times?

Noelia: I know. I'm so sorry. Would you be able to work on it this afternoon?

Paul: Well, I'm not really sure if I can, Noelia. I'm finishing the Moosh Monkey social media campaign and they're expecting it by the end of the day.

Noelia: I'd forgotten about that. Is there any chance you could work late tonight?

Paul: Sorry, Noelia. I would if I could, but I can't.

Noelia: Please?

Paul: I'm taking my niece to the cinema for her birthday. It's been planned for ages.

Noelia: OK. Well, then could you come in early tomorrow? I'll make it up to you!

Paul: OK. How?

Noelia: Name your price.

Paul: An extra day's holiday?

Noelia: Can you get in for 5 a.m.?

Paul: 7 a.m.

Noelia: 6 a.m.

Paul: Deal.

Noelia: Deal.


Ana: Hello again! Looks like that's an early start for Paul tomorrow, then! So, did you notice the useful phrases used for asking a favour? Listen to me and then repeat. 


Have you got a minute?

I need a favour.

What can I help you with?

I'm really sorry about this, but they want some changes. 

Would you be able to work this afternoon?

I'm not really sure if I can.

Is there any chance you could work late?

I would if I could, but I can't.


Ana: Try and use some of these phrases the next time you want to ask a favour in English. Bye for now!


Worksheet125.52 KB

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Average: 4.5 (49 votes)
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Submitted by vsanchez75 on Mon, 19/10/2020 - 15:07

I do not remember but surely I did something for someone. Sometimes you have to make a favour for someone, in the job in yoir home or community. The problem is when it seems an obligation, in Mexico is commun.

Submitted by fahri on Sun, 18/10/2020 - 03:42

Dear team. From the lesson above. I would if I could,but I can't. The question: What is that means 'I would if I could' ???? Thank you very much for your answer

Hi fahri,

This sentence refers to the previous one, where Noelia asks Paul: Is there any chance you could work late tonight?

Paul's reply means I would (work late tonight) if I could (work late tonight). In other words, he would be willing to do that, but it's not possible. He doesn't repeat the verb phrase work late tonight because it's fine to just say would and could alone if it's clear what verb phrase it refers to.

Does that make sense?

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by fahri on Mon, 19/10/2020 - 12:35

In reply to by Jonathan R

Your answer very clear and very detail. I am happy. Thank you very much sir

Submitted by Khin Mar Mya on Tue, 13/10/2020 - 16:22

Thank you so much for your good lessons.

Submitted by habibao.medo on Tue, 13/10/2020 - 12:42

i really don't remember

Submitted by Bayader Gasmalla on Tue, 06/10/2020 - 17:21

My friends always ask me to do a favour for them ,i find it very moral thing however i love introducing help wherever i could ♥

Submitted by DEUTOU DEUTOU Martin on Wed, 30/09/2020 - 13:17

thanks for lesson

Submitted by cittàutopica on Mon, 14/09/2020 - 16:05

It happen often that my two nieces asks me for some favours, that is buying some clothes for their kids, seeing as I live in a city, where there are more stores than in their town.