Request a Favor — Letter-Writing Tutorial


Avoid the temptation to apologize for your request. Let the person feel complimented that you would ask the favor and indicate why you came to him or her for help. Explain clearly and persuasively why you need the favor. Finally, make the request reasonable, expressing willingness to reciprocate the kindness.


1. Clearly explain your reason for requesting the favor, possibly indicating why the person is qualified to help you.


  • Could you do me a favor? I am considering the purchase of a new car from the Doe Brothers, and I understand you have recently made such a purchase.
  • We are turning to you for help in getting our son admitted to your preschool.
  • It would be a tremendous favor if you would lend me your maps for my seminar next week.
  • I would sincerely appreciate your influence in encouraging the committee to reconsider its decision.
  • I am in a rather difficult situation at the moment because the paper has misquoted me, and will not correct it. It would be a great favor if you could set the record straight.
  • Since I am leaving for France in the morning, I am wondering if you would inform the subcontractors that our meeting has been cancelled.
  • I hope you will be able to give me some guidance regarding which schools I should apply to for my MA degree.
  • I am turning to you to ask a favor because you are the most qualified person to give advice about scholarship opportunities in the humanities.
  • At the suggestion of Mr. Doe, I am turning to you to ask a special favor.
  • May I ask the favor of borrowing your copy of the text until the bookstore receives my order?
  • May I use your name as a person who would be willing to give me a letter of reference?
  • I would like to ask a special favor. You seem to be the best person to help.
  • I would really appreciate your help in getting the tables set up at our company picnic.
  • May I ask a favor? Could you give me the name of someone who might be able to help us with our public relations?
  • The growth of our business has brought us to a point where we are prepared to extend our client base. Therefore, we are writing to our preferred customers to ask them for the names and phone numbers of persons they feel would like to know of our service.


  • am turning to you because
  • am wondering if you would
  • am approaching you because
  • am considering the purchase of
  • are turning to you for assistance
  • ask a special favor
  • at the suggestion of
  • could you do me a favor
  • hope you will be able to
  • if you would be willing to
  • if you would be so kind as to
  • in a rather difficult situation
  • is somewhat of an imposition
  • may I ask the favor of your
  • might be able to help
  • need some information on
  • understand that you have recently
  • would very much appreciate
  • would you mind
  • would count it a great favor if
  • would you be willing to
  • would sincerely appreciate your
  • would be a tremendous favor if
  • would like to ask a favor of you

2. If the favor is sensitive or extensive, give a persuasive and convincing explanation for the request.


  • Could you tell me which finance company gave you your low interest rate? I seem to be getting contradictory information. I can save a lot of money if I can get the same rate.
  • I will be making a decision about which school to attend and it would be helpful to know what your experience was like last year.
  • All of my lecture materials are still in transit, and I must begin the seminar series next week. It would be very difficult to discuss the European situation without maps.
  • I am confident that the decision would have been different if the committee would have had access to these letters.
  • The school board election takes place next week, and unless the misunderstanding is cleared up, I see little hope of being elected.
  • It would be an embarrassment if they were to travel all the way from Detroit only to find out that the meeting had been cancelled.
  • As you can see, I only have this week to study the text before the final examination.
  • We have only two hours between the time we leave work and the time the party begins, so I will need a lot of help.
  • The deadline for submission is June 1. I hope the shortness of the time is not a serious problem.


  • a word from you would
  • am reluctant to impose
  • can see no other way to
  • can easily be cleared up
  • far-reaching consequences
  • feel confident that
  • have been so looking forward to
  • having the benefit of your
  • help me out of a
  • if you would not object to
  • in a difficult situation
  • is just unfortunate that
  • is very important to me
  • laboring under a misapprehension
  • may seem very minor
  • such an important decision
  • sure it is just a misunderstanding
  • the deadline is
  • unless the misunderstanding is cleared up
  • will save me a great deal of
  • would find it very helpful if

3. Express appreciation and willingness to reciprocate.


  • I look forward to hearing from you and will be happy to return the favor.
  • If I can return the favor or give you any assistance, you know you can give me a call.
  • I really appreciate any help you can give.
  • If you can help me through this pinch, I will be very grateful.
  • I will appreciate any other information along these lines that you feel would be helpful.
  • I will be very grateful if you can send me a FAX at 555-5555, or simply give me a call at 555-5555.
  • I will gladly return the favor.
  • Don't hesitate to ask for a return favor. I will be pleased to help in any way I can.
  • I will really appreciate any help you can give and hope that someday I will be in a position to return the favor.


  • accept my heartfelt thanks
  • am looking forward to
  • appreciate any help you can give
  • appreciate your kindness
  • be of use to you in the future
  • being able to return the favor
  • don't hesitate to ask
  • greatly appreciate your intervention
  • how grateful I am
  • how much I appreciate
  • if I can do anything for you
  • if I can return the favor
  • long and mutually beneficial relationship
  • look forward to
  • thank you so much
  • thank you in anticipation
  • want you to know
  • will someday be in a position to
  • will make a real difference
  • will be very grateful
  • will be happy to return the favor
  • will appreciate any other

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