Could you tell me if there is a nuance of meaning between could and would when asking someone to do something politely? For example:

Kate, could you pick up some milk on your way home?

Kate, would you pick up some milk on your way home?

  • 3
    Does this answer your question? Could you vs would you
    – ColleenV
    Commented Jan 16, 2021 at 17:37
  • There really isn't enough difference for it to be worth trying to learn this, but in at least some contexts, a native speaker might think that the could version is slightly more "deferential / tentative". Much more importantly, they're not always "interchangeable" on purely syntactic grounds. You can ask someone Would you mind helping me?, for example, but you can't validly ask Could you mind helping me? Commented Jan 16, 2021 at 17:39
  • The answer at Colleen V's link is wrong. elliotcm's one-liner below is better
    – gotube
    Commented Nov 21, 2021 at 4:49

1 Answer 1


There's a very very slight nuance, but I'd say it's more a pattern of speech than anything significant.

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