I enter in a small bookstore, the owner tells me:

"Will you close the door please?!"

I enter in a small bookstore, I ask the owner:

"Shall I close the door?"

The two phrases above in brackets should be correct.

Is it still correct/common in English to say:

"Could you close the door, please?!"

"Should I close the door?"

If yes, what's the difference between the two? (If there is any difference).


Your two examples are correct for both being told and asking.
The two sentences that you are questioning are also correct.

For this AmE speaker there is a subtle difference between will you and would you, and shall I and should I.

Will you please

implies an immediacy, do it now

Would you please

is asking you to do something

if you are able to
if it's not too inconvenient
if you have the time
if it's not too much trouble

it is more polite.

Shall I is posing a question by offering to do something and looking for mutual agreement for that action.

Shall I make tea?
Shall I fetch you at 4?

Should I is asking for guidance of an action based on a rule or opinion: should or should not do.

Should I go to the dentist when I have a toothache?
Should I discipline my dog if he misbehaves?
Should I take out the garbage on Mondays?

From my experience, should is more AmE and shall is more BrE.

Could you do something

Is asking if you are able to perform an action and is related to can you but is more conditional in the way that asking for permission is

Could you get me a glass of water please?
Could you stand on your head?
Could you expand on this?

an answer might be

I could do that (for you) if I wanted to, but I won't

meaning: I am able to do what your request, but I don't feel like it

| improve this answer | |
  • Sorry, I updated the question with "Could" in place of "Would". Could you expand on this too? Please don't delete what you explained about using "would", it's interesting too. – Marco Demaio Jan 2 '16 at 16:29
  • Shall I add additional commentary to include could, and you think that I should keep my previous remarks there? Gladly. If you would take a look at my edits, it should help clarify your understanding. – Peter Jan 2 '16 at 16:52
  • Do you think that "Will you please..." could sound kind of rude expecially in an email text when writing to a customer? – Marco Demaio Jan 2 '16 at 17:55
  • 1
    @MarcoDemaio Personally as an AmE speaker, I would use Would you please...", nothing wrong with Will you please... but could be interpreted as coming from a non-native speaker depending on what follows – Peter Jan 2 '16 at 23:12

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