ASK A TEACHER - Kindly and Please

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This week we received a question from Evewero in Nigeria.

Question:

What is the difference between "please" and "kindly." Some … use the two words together, e.g. "please kindly assist."

- Evewero, Nigeria

Answer:

Dear Evewero,

Thank you kindly for writing to us.

Kindly

"Kindly" can be an adverb, a word that usually describes a verb. If your teacher says, 'Kindly hand in your homework,' she is using kindly as an adverb to make a polite request. Another way to use the word as an adverb is:

The animal doctor always treats our pets kindly.

"Kindly" is also an adjective. If someone helped you at the post office, you might say:

A kindly man helped me mail my letter.

There, kindly describes "man" which is a noun. You could also use the word "nice" to express the same idea.

Please

"Please" can be an adverb or a verb. It also can be used to make a request politely:

Would you please pass the salt?

Please give me your homework.

And, Americans almost always use "please" when making a request in the form of a statement as opposed to a question:

Give me two tickets, please.

Please, sir, help us!

I hope this answer "pleases" you - there, I used it as a verb.

"Kindly" visit our website again for more lessons!

Your questions

What questions do you have about English? Send us an email at learningenglish@voanews.com.

And that's Ask a Teacher for this week.

I'm Jill Robbins.

Dr. Jill Robbins wrote this story for Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.

Words in This Story

politeadj. having or showing good manners or respect for other people

Do you have a question for the teacher? We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section or send us an email at learningenglish@voanews.com.

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