This week we received a question from Evewero in Nigeria.
What is the difference between “please” and “kindly.” Some … use the two words together, e.g. “please kindly assist.”
- Evewero, Nigeria
Thank you kindly for writing to us.
“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” 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!
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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
polite – adj. having or showing good manners or respect for other people
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