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Thread: polite questions

  1. #1
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    polite questions

    I am having some difficulty in getting the right tone with my questions.

    In English I might say:

    Where is my hat?
    Do you know where my hat is?
    Would you happen to to know where my hat is?
    I would like to know where my hat is.
    I was wondering, if you happened to know where my hat was.

    Now some of them seem pretty straightforward.

    Где моя шапка?
    Вы не знаете, где моя шапка?
    Знаете ли вы, где моя шапка?

    It's the next few that I have a question about. What I want to say is:

    Я хотел бы знать, где моя шапка.
    Я хотел бы знать, знашь ли ты где моя шапка?

    Though they aren't in a perfect gradient, my intent was to list them in the order of their "softness." The final English question is extremely polite - polite in that it gives no impression that the asker is assuming the asked person should know the answer. The first question, while not "rude" does give the impression that the asked person should know the answer. I often feel that I am being too presumptuous in my questioning of respected persons, and would like to correct it.

  2. #2
    Завсегдатай Ramil's Avatar
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    It doesn't work in Russian. Each one of the phrases you wrote could be either rude or polite depending not on the words but on the tone.
    You could ask every question with an arrogant enough tone to get a well deserved punch but also you could ask either one in a polite tone that will raise no objections.
    The tone is rather important when you ask some question. The wording doesn't matter much in this case.

    Где моя шапка?
    Вы (не) знаете, где моя шапка? (you can use both form with не and without it)
    Я хотел бы знать, где моя шапка (this is maybe the only somewhat direct and blunt one - either use a mild tone or use other form)
    Вы случайно не знаете, где моя шапка?

    All is ok provided you use polite intonation.
    Send me a PM if you need me.

  3. #3
    Старший оракул
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    Re: polite questions

    Где моя шапка? = Where is my hat?

    Вы не знаете, где моя шапка? is quite polite. But I disagree with Ramil, you should not omit "не".

    Знаете ли вы, где моя шапка? Я хотел бы знать, где моя шапка. Я хотел бы знать, знашь ли ты где моя шапка? -- Don't use them. They can be polite, but it's easy to misuse them.

    And, of cause, if you want be polite use "Извините, ..." or "Скажите пожалуйста, ..."
    Налево пойдёшь - коня потеряешь, направо пойдёшь - сам голову сложишь.
    Прямой путь не предлагать!

  4. #4
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    Alright, thank you for the explanation. I have another question pertaining to this subject. It has to do with ли questions. My rule of thumb is that they are used for questions which can be answered "Yes" or "No," and for indirect speech. How does having 2 ли clauses work in a sentence?

    -Do you like movies?
    -Любишь ли ты кино?

    -He asked her if she liked movies.
    -Он её спросил, любит ли она кино. ("?" needed?)

    also..

    -Do you know if he's coming by metro?
    -Знаешь ли ты, приедет ли он на метро?

    Does that sound alright?

  5. #5
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    Sounds perfect.
    http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g2...us/mage7yu.jpg
    God granted me the serenity to accept the things
    I cannot change
    Courage to change the things I can
    And wisdom to know the difference

  6. #6
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    Alright, that's good. I think had been writing something akin to:

    Знаешь ли ты, что он придет на метро?

    Which I suppose isn't really correct for my intention.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by brokev03
    My rule of thumb is that they are used for questions which can be answered "Yes" or "No,"
    You don't need "ли" to ask a questions which can be answered "Yes" or "No"

    -Do you like movies?
    -Ты любишь кино? -- Да. / Нет.

    I can't explain when we use "ли" in direct speech.

    Quote Originally Posted by brokev03
    for indirect speech.
    Correct.

    Quote Originally Posted by brokev03
    How does having 2 ли clauses work in a sentence?
    It's not good.

    Quote Originally Posted by brokev03
    -Do you know if he's coming by metro?
    Ты не знаешь, он приезжает/приедет на метро?
    Налево пойдёшь - коня потеряешь, направо пойдёшь - сам голову сложишь.
    Прямой путь не предлагать!

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    Не соблаговолите ли вы быть настолько любезными, чтобы в случае обладания сведениями о моей шапке ответить положительно на обращённый мною к вам вопрос о её местонахождении?

  9. #9
    Завсегдатай Ramil's Avatar
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    В троллейбусе мужчина уступает место дедушке:

    - Садитесь
    - Спасибо
    - Пожалуйста
    - Не стоит
    - Ну что вы
    - Не умничай
    - Да пошел ты...

    Send me a PM if you need me.

  10. #10
    Властелин
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    Re: polite questions

    Quote Originally Posted by brokev03
    I am having some difficulty in getting the right tone with my questions.
    You'll have even more difficulty finding a situation that requires one to be polite in Russia. (zinggg!)
    Corrupting young minds since May 6, 2004.

  11. #11
    Почтенный гражданин
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    As far as i remember if you ask somebody a question like :''Вы не знаете'' you probably offer your question to someone who do you think he knows the answer.You can also say Вы знаете.... ? but they differ in meaning I guess.
    Главное что есть ты у меня...

  12. #12
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    Re: polite questions

    Quote Originally Posted by BlackMage
    You'll have even more difficulty finding a situation that requires one to be polite in Russia. (zinggg!)
    Yeah, and waiting in line to buy train tickets is not one of them!

  13. #13
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    Re: polite questions

    Quote Originally Posted by brokev03
    Quote Originally Posted by BlackMage
    You'll have even more difficulty finding a situation that requires one to be polite in Russia. (zinggg!)
    Yeah, and waiting in line to buy train tickets is not one of them!
    We do not wait in lines. We attack from all sides.
    Show yourself - destroy our fears - release your mask

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