When making a polite request, there are two main adverbs at our disposal: ‘please’ and ‘kindly’.
English learners sometimes feel unsure about which one to choose, and both words serve similar purposes, so then what might be the differences between them? Let’s see how they compare!
Option 1: Please
‘Please’ is the choice that most native speakers of English usually select.
It is widely used in speech, casual messages, and business emails as well. It can also be placed at the beginning, middle, or end of a sentence, making it a highly versatile adverb.
Please turn in the assignment.
Finish the work by Monday, please.
Could you please provide feedback?
Option 2: Kindly
‘Kindly’ has a formal, old-fashioned quality to it that often sounds more like a command than a request. This option is better suited for written letters and official correspondence. Further, it differs from ‘please’ in the way that it can describe an action that was completed in a kind manner (see example #3).
Kindly fill out the application form.
Would you kindly come to the job site?
Thank you for kindly assisting me.
What about putting them together?
Placing these two words with each other in the same sentence is not advisable.
This construction is redundant in most cases and doesn’t typically yield better results than opting for just one of them. Native speakers may view ‘please kindly’ as sarcastic or overly deferential.
‘Please’ is the winner! Prefer this adverb for polite requests and use ‘kindly’ only:
- In very formal/traditional writing;
- To refer to a completed action;
- For a change of pace in vocabulary.
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