“Asking” someone to do something vs “Telling” them to do something

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Difference between asking and telling

Curious Asked on 04/09/2015 in English Grammar.
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The difference between asking and telling someone not to do something is that telling someone is more direct. 

[Tweet “It is much more polite to ask someone to do something rather than tell someone to do something.”]

Look at these examples:

  • Don’t touch the painting! (Telling)
  • Please could you not touch the painting? (Asking)
  • Don’t play football on the grass! (Telling)
  • Please could you not play football on the grass? (Asking)


It is much more polite to ask someone to do something rather than tell someone to do something.

So, if in doubt, ask before telling!

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Hero Answered on 04/09/2015.
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