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My question is I want to primarily give the driver a choice. The secondary consideration is not being rude.

I take taxi to home. My home is in a community. I often tell taxi driver "You can stop here." when the taxi is at the gate of my community. In this way, the taxi remains on the big street, he doesn't have to drive into my community and make many turns.

If I say "Can you stop here?", it seems I am requesting him to stop here. I'm of cause happy if he want to drive to the front of my house. And my community has some exits. Who knows if one exist is convenient for the taxi's next destination.

I just want to tell him that he can stop at the gate. He can drive to the front of my house if he want.

Many of my friends tell me "You can" means I'm a master, he is my slave, I'm giving permission to him to stop here. That is not what I want.

What is the polite way to tell taxi driver that he can stop here?

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    Is this in the USA? By community are you referring to a closed estate, a village? A cordoned off area, can you be more specific? – Tom J Nowell Feb 3 at 16:58
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    You don't have to give the taxi driver your actual address; just say you are going to the entrance to your community. The driver will likely prefer to take you to your door, if only because it will increase the fare. But in the end, the driver takes you where you tell them to take you. – chepner Feb 3 at 20:05
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    Exist...did you mean "exit"? Who knows if one exist is convenient for the taxi's next destination. – Mari-Lou A Feb 4 at 0:46
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There are many options to choose from. Here are a few that are polite.

"You can stop off here, if you like; I can easily walk to my apartment from this corner."

Another option is:

"My home is inside this community, but to save you needing to drive through you are welcome to drop me off here."

Your friend is not correct is saying that the "can" connotes a master/slave relationship, as it all depends on other matters - e.g. your tone of voice, how friendly you have been during the journey, etc.

Regardless, by adding "if you like" you give the driver the option.

Better still, give the driver notice a block or two earlier, by saying something like: "I live in the XYZ community at 123 Smith St. You're welcome to drive through or drop me off at the gate." The driver then makes his/her own choice.

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    +1 "if you like" – JCRM Feb 3 at 9:36
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    Agreed regarding "can". It's entirely contextual. Telling a waiter, for example, "you can leave now" would certainly have the potential to sound rude and dismissive. But an explicit statement which shows regard for their preferences-- "if you like", "if it's convenient", etc-- takes away the possibility of seeming short or rude. – Andrew Feb 3 at 19:14
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    Thinking that "can" sounds like master/slave is foreign to me. Can implies (weakly) that there is a choice. A master would say "You will stop the car right here", or "Stop the car now". But maybe I'm a harsh master... – JPhi1618 Feb 3 at 21:08
  • @JPhi1618 I think it depends on whether 'implying a choice' is appropriate in the given situation. "You can stop here if you want" is fine, because you are giving the driver an option he doesn't automatically have. "You can leave now" (to a waiter) is rude because you are implying that the waiter needs your permission to leave, which he doesn't. – bornfromanegg Feb 5 at 11:03
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A similar question came up recently but in a restaurant setting. If you say:

You can get me the bill now.

that's rude because you are telling the waiter what to do. It's the same as saying:

Go and get me the bill now.

Fetch me the bill now.

The waiter knows beforehand that the bill is required at the end of the meal. The only thing you're saying is that you want the bill now, not later. The request is not time sensitive. If you get the bill five minutes later there will be no major consequences.

Telling a taxi driver:

You can stop here.

is not rude because it's giving the taxi driver information that they don't already have. The taxi driver doesn't know beforehand that here is a good place for you. The request is time sensitive. If you tell the taxi driver even thirty seconds later you will have missed the right place to set you down.

You can't really change the sentence except by saying:

Stop here please.

Make sure you add "please" to soften the request!

There are many other ways of saying this politely, too many to list them all here. Some are:

Would you let me out here?

This is fine right here.

I can walk from here.

You don't need to go all the way up the driveway.

This will do.

It's just by that tree there.

... and so on. Anything that lets the taxi driver know the journey is at its end.

What makes "You can" rude is the word "now", whether it's spoken or just implied. "You can stop here now" would also be rude since adding "now" has changed the sentence from giving information into a command. "Would you let me out now please?" is also rude despite the politeness indicators "would" and "please". "Now" is ruder than "would" and "please" in combination since it has turned a request into a command.

To leave it up to the taxi driver whether to stop or not, make it explicit that you're giving them a choice:

You don't need to go all the way up the driveway if you don't want to.

You can drop me off here instead of driving all the way up if you want to.

Either here or at the door is fine.

etc.

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    that's rude because you are telling the waiter what to do - why this? It's literally the job of the waiter to be told what to do (same for other servants or subordinates). – Haukinger Feb 1 at 17:25
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    @Haukinger because a server is not a servant. – Ruslan Feb 1 at 17:58
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    @Haukinger the answers to the question linked in the question here explains why it's rude. – Kat Feb 1 at 18:47
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    This OP asked the restaurant question. We are being led around by the nose, I'm afraid. These things are easily found online. – Lambie Feb 1 at 21:52
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    I don't think this answers the question that was asked. My understanding of the question is that the asker is wondering how to say this so that it is not interpreted as a request, but rather as actually giving the driver the choice of either stopping or not stopping. – Tanner Swett Feb 1 at 22:08
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The standard sentence (at least in the UK) is:

Anywhere here is fine, thanks.

No need to overcomplicate it.

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    Short and to the point. – bob Feb 3 at 18:32
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    Almost word for word my usual go-to choice, also a UK resident. – Ruadhan2300 Feb 4 at 11:49
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It's polite to say "you can" if you're letting someone know it's okay by you to do something that may be more convenient for them. You should only use it if you're fine with them choosing not to do that thing. It's rude to say "you can" when you're asking someone to do something for you.

This means it's fine in your example. The driver can drop you at the gate if he likes, or he can drive you to your front door if he prefers. I've personally said something similar to lots of drivers. They sometimes say okay and stop, and sometimes they insist on driving me all the way. I'm fine with them choosing either option, as you seem to be. Telling them about their options is perfectly polite, but you should make it clear that you're okay with them choosing to drive you all the way instead. "You can drop me at the gate instead of driving the whole way, if you prefer" is better than "you can drop me here, please", because the latter sounds like you're requesting for them to drop you there rather than giving them an option.

A counter example is if you asked the taxi driver to drive you home and then changed your mind halfway there and decided you'd rather go to your friend's house. If in that case you said "actually, you can drop me at my friend's house instead at [address]", that would be very rude. The difference is you are asking them to do something for you, which they may or may not actually want to do. To be clear, it's absolutely fine to ask a taxi driver to change their destination, but you need to form it as a request which they have the agency to accept or decline, rather than tell them they "can" do it.

Another example that's in a restaurant setting, since that was your original question. Say you are seated at a table with more chairs than intended, and for some reason you don't want the chairs there. Telling them "you can take these extra chairs away" would be incredibly rude, because you have no reason to think they have any desire to do that. However, if you saw them trying to scrounge up chairs for a large party, it would be very kind for you to call them over and say "you can take these extra chairs". Again, the difference is whether you are requesting something you want versus letting them know you're okay with them doing something that will be helpful to them.

A simple test is to ask yourself, "if they chose not to do this thing, would I be upset?" If the answer is "yes", then you are making a request, and you should phrase it with "can you" or something similar instead. If the answer is "no, I'm fine with it either way, it's completely their choice", then it's okay to say "you can", although you should make sure it's clear that's the case.

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  • Your third paragraph is really not right. One can change one's mind during a cab ride and say: "If in that case you said "actually, you can drop me at my friend's house instead at [address]", that would be very rude." That is simply not true. A cab driver is all about being asked to do something, and sometimes "can you" can be the same as "you can" with the word please. Again, the use of the word please is crucial. – Lambie Feb 2 at 18:34
  • @Lambie I don't think its a good idea to rely on someone to understand "can you"/'you can" distinction exactly the same as you have at a particular moment. I would not use "you can..." phrase when I need to know what choice will be made/possible. "Can you ..." clearly indicates that I expect an answer while "you can …" give them choice that not necessary need to be confirmed. Indeed driver will probably try to clarify which option you actually need but with "you can..." they don't have to. – Alexei Levenkov Feb 3 at 22:27
  • @AlexeiLevenkov You can stop here or down the road a bit, please. = Can you stop here or down the road a bit, please? Choice: either one means the same thing, and I suspect this has zero to do with English. – Lambie Feb 4 at 17:05
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It all depends on tone of voice:

"You can stop here." is fine if your tone of voice is nice.

Also, it is the same thing as: "Can you stop here".

It's as simple as that.

But, it is always a good idea to say please.

Your friends are wrong. "You can" does not mean your are the master.

Your tone of voice is what makes a difference in cases such as these.

POLITE "Would you please stop here?" [or please at the end]
"Can you please stop here?" [or please at the end]
"Please stop here."

This use of can in English is very, very common.

"Can you bring me a glass of water, please?"

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    @CJDennis Again, it depends on your tone of voice. – Lambie Feb 1 at 23:14
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    "you can stop here" is utterly different in many ways from "can you stop here" – Fattie Feb 2 at 18:14
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    I'm afraid not. With a cliché gruff NY taxi driver, you'd probably utter: "What about .. here .. good one." Or "Right there is good .. great." If you said to the driver (for some reason) "could you pass me a tissue" that would certainly be please. But the navigation of just where to stop is a "normal part of the communication structure". – Fattie Feb 2 at 20:34
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    @Fattie Most NY cab drivers these days don't even know English very well. – Lambie Feb 2 at 20:38
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    @Lambie “you can...” and “can you...” mean different things, aside from the politeness. One is a suggestion, the other a request – Tim Feb 3 at 8:54
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The other answers are all fine, but in the specific case of taxi ride, I'll offer a slightly different opinion about the social aspect of it:

"Stop Here" or "Stop here, please" is fine, especially if both of you are speaking English as a second language.

Clarity and brevity are important, especially since time is a factor. Your demeanor when you speak communicates more about your feelings than the actual words, in any case. If you use too many words the important part of the message that you need to communicate is obscured by the pleasantries.

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  • "Stop here" is rude without the please. This is really very simple... – Lambie Feb 1 at 23:15
  • @Lambie No, as you say " it depends on your tone of voice". – CJ Dennis Feb 1 at 23:21
  • @CJDennis Regardless, it would be rude as an imperative like that. The tone of voice applies to: Stop here please. – Lambie Feb 1 at 23:27
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    @Lambie Don't be so literal. Your message is that tone of voice can determine whether your message is rude or polite. I can make "Stop here" very polite with just my tone of voice. "Stop here." is polite. "Stop here!" is rude. – CJ Dennis Feb 1 at 23:36
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    "especially if" - neither of you speak to each other the entire time. Driver nods. Driver drives me. I pay driver. Driver nods. = 5 stars. – Mazura Feb 3 at 0:12
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I like being more direct.

"Please let me out at the gate."
Or, "Please let me out at this intersection."

Thank you.

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  • Good answer. Even more polite if "Please" is exchanged with "Could you". – bob Feb 3 at 18:35
  • @bob I would consider "Would you please let me out at the gate?" Would conveys a willingness, and an option, where as could conveys capability. Might you agree, @bob? – mongo Feb 3 at 18:59
  • That one is tricky. In the U.S. at least "would you" can be a loaded phrase that can convey passive-agressiveness. But that may vary by region. – bob Feb 3 at 19:36
  • Well, I am not tuned into the passive aggressive regional tendencies. I normally say something like, "Kindly stop at the gate, and I would like to get out there." However when giving general advise, I tend to go direct, since it has less likelihood of being mis-presented or misconstrued. In any event, the comments should help to educate and confuse the OP. I notice visitors from Argentina and many parts of Europe are apologetically polite when they ask for something like a drop off point. I tend to interpret things in the best possible light, but a cantankerous cabbie may not. – mongo Feb 3 at 22:41

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