Can I trouble you to…

Who was the one who came up with the stupid PR phrase: “Can I trouble you to [insert request]?”

I know it’s supposed to be a tactful, polite way of asking for something, but what is wrong with “please”??

Why use five words instead of one?

“Can I trouble you to” sounds condescending to me. It’s the same as saying, “I’m going to give you a nasty task but I don’t want you to hate me for it so I shall pretend that I’m asking you a favour so you’ll feel awesome instead,” but in fewer words.

Someone came up with this phrase and everyone thought it was a great idea and started using it. I don’t doubt it works on most people but I see it for what it is!!!

Can I trouble you to comment?

19 thoughts on “Can I trouble you to…

  1. Avatar

    I find it rather polite though. Whenever I use the phrase, I don’t expect the person to help but would appreciate lots if he/she does. As for ‘please’, it’s a more polite way of telling a person you need to get this done…. at least I see it that way. :p

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    I think if someone takes the effort to be polite/civil, regardless of their delivery of methods, taking into consideration their INTEND to be nice and polite, it should be appluaded and appreciated.

    i have met too many people who simply do not have the basic manners to take the extra effort to add such phrases to their wants/needs and assume that the world revolves around them.

    one word, 2 words or a whole sentences, as long as the intend is right, i say .. kudos, let’s do what we can to make the world a better place.

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    i’m guessing it’s a direct translation of the chinese “麻烦你(insert verb)”. could be wrong, not sure if i’ve ever heard native english say that, or how we cross influence

    my european colleagues like to write in emails “would you please be so kind to help do…” and i always think in my head, “no i’m not so kind”. haha

    but i still like polite emails to curt ones. agree with ZhiX there

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    haha… sheylara… i Agree with u…
    i think it sounded abit “Luo Shuo” lor…. Long winded.. beating ard the bush.

    anyway .. long time no see.. hope ya doing fine n u look good in ur picture! :)

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    @Sheylara: Hehe, been a while since we had a rant post:) No trouble at all, just like those dream Danish cookies…

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    Wow. Thanks for all your comments!! :) I shall agree that it’s always better for people to be excessively polite than rude! :P

    @kate – That’s a good point! I’m quite sure you’re right, come to think of it, since many of our english phrases come from being directly translated from chinese, heh.

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    You know what’s condescending? You having your own website to blah blah blah because you are having trouble keeping your small thoughts to yourself.

  8. Avatar

    “Can I trouble you to” sounds condescending to me.

    It depends on how you say it and how the tone is. To me, it is a very polite way to ask somebody to do us a favour.

    The way I understand condenscending is when we belittle people, that is we make people feel inferior. The way this is done is to concentrate on any details of making the other party incapable of achieving tasks. I plainly fail to see how “Can I trouble you to” is condescending.

    You might want to visit the definition of condescending and no I am not condescending you at all.

    And yes, excessive politeness is way better than rude. The Japanese have a whole range of politeness and just the one word for rudeness in their language I believe.

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