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I am an English learner here.

I am filling in an application form for a program and I would like to make a special request on something.

I don't want to be rude, and I don't want to cause any inconvenience. To be honest, I don't even know if my application would be successful, and now I am here demanding special treatment.

This makes me wonder what is the best way to put forward a request when you are not exactly in the position to do so?

I have heard people say "Dare I say" before. From the context, I assume it was used when you are afraid that the next statement might be offensive.

In this situation, can I start with "Dare I ask the following?" If it sounds weird, is there any alternative?

Thanks guys.

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"Dare I say" or "dare I ask" should both be understood by your readers.

For this particular context, alternatives might be:

  • "If it's no trouble, ..."
  • "It would be helpful if ..."
  • "Although it's not required, I would appreciate ..."

On the other hand, if you're making a deal-breaking demand, you might want to word it more forcefully.

If the application includes a spot for custom requests or ideas, that's what they expect you to put there - no apologies necessary.

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    My thoughts were a lot like yours; I would suggest, "If you don't mind me asking..." – J.R. Apr 9 '15 at 15:46
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    Another alternative might be "I hope it's not too much to ask, but it would be very appreciated if..." – ColleenV Apr 9 '15 at 18:40
  • Thank you all for your help! All of your suggestions are excellent! – JSmith Apr 9 '15 at 19:32
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"May I please request" should be sufficiently polite. For example

May I please request to be housed in a room on the ground floor.

If you want to sound a little more apologetic, or make it clear that you're aware that the request is unusual, you could add "if at all possible".

  • Thank you so much. You guys all give wonderful suggestions. – JSmith Apr 9 '15 at 19:30

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