Unit 87 Offers and invitations

Main points

* You use `Would you like’ to offer something to someone or to invite them to do something.

* You use `Can I’, `Could I’, and `Shall I’ when you offer to help someone.

1 When you are offering something to someone, or inviting them to do something, you use `Would you like’.
Would you like a drink?
Would you like to come for a meal?

You can use `Will you’ to offer something to someone you know quite well, or to give an invitation in a fairly informal way.
Will you have another biscuit, Dave?
Will you come to my party on Saturday?

2 You use `Can I’ or `Could I’ when you are offering to do something for someone. `Could I’ is more polite.
Can I help you with the dishes?
Could I help you carry those bags?

You also use `Shall I’ when you are offering to do something, especially if you are fairly sure that your offer will be accepted.
Shall I shut the door?
Shall I spell that for you?

3 You use `I can’ or `I could’ to make an offer when you want to say that you are able to help someone.
I have a car. I can take Daisy to the station.
I could pay some of the rent.

4 You also use `I’ll’ to offer to do something.
I’ll give them a ring if you like.
I’ll show you the hotel.

5 You use `You must’ if you want to invite someone very persuasively to do something.
You must come round for a meal some time.
You must come and visit me.

6 There are other ways of making offers and giving invitations without using modals. For example, you can use `Let me’ when offering to help someone.
Let me take you to your room.
Let me drive you to London.

You can make an offer or give an invitation in a more informal way by using an imperative sentence, when it is clear that you are not giving an order.
Have a cigar.
Come to my place.

You can add emphasis by putting `do’ in front of the verb.
Do have a chocolate biscuit.
Do help yourselves.

You can also give an invitation by using `Why don’t you’ or `How about’.
Why don’t you come to lunch tomorrow?
How about coming with us to the party?