“Actually, if you could give us a few more minutes...?”

English Lesson: Actually, if you could give us a few more minutes...?

You're eating at a restaurant. The waiter comes to your table to take your order, but you're not ready. You tell him to come back again a few minutes later.

Actually, if you could give us a few more minutes...?

a few (of something)

"A few" is a number that's not specific, but it usually means somewhere between 3-10. It's a little less formal than "several" and also sounds like a slightly lower number. Here are some examples:

You may want to consider hiring a personal trainer for a few sessions.

That's a very generous offer. Um, let me think it over for a few days and get back to you.

Actually, (sentence)

Start a sentence with "Actually..." when you need to ask someone to change plans or do something different than they expected. Beginning with "Actually..." is polite and makes it seem like you're sorry for inconveniencing the listener.

if you could (do something)...

People ask questions this way sometimes when they're being polite:

If you could just move over there to the side...

If you could email me the form you were talking about...

Instead of finishing the sentence by giving a conclusion to the "if" clause, the speaker just lets the sentence fade off. The meaning is "Please do this" but it sounds less direct.

Sometimes people do finish the sentence with "that would be great" or "I would appreciate it":

If you could turn down the volume just a little, I would really appreciate it.


(Print this lesson)