“Can you give me just a minute to finish writing this?”

One of the people who works under you came to your office to ask a question. He asked you "Can I ask you something?" You were typing an urgent email and want to finish it, so you answer him like this.

Can you give me just a minute to finish writing this?

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Can you (do something)?

This is a way to ask someone to do something. It's appropriate for:

  • a boss to use with the people who work for him or her
  • a customer to use with a store employee
  • a parent to use with his or her children
  • asking a friend to help you with something

"Can you ___" is more direct than asking "Could you..."

Sometimes a person will include "maybe" in this question:

Can you maybe call him and tell him to meet us there?

Can you maybe turn the volume down just a little?

give me (some amount of time)

When you ask someone:

Can you give me a minute?

...you are asking for them to wait for a short length of time.

You can also say why you want for them to wait:

Give me a few minutes to catch my breath.

a minute

When someone says "a minute", they usually don't mean exactly 60 seconds. They mean a short length of time, somewhere between 30 seconds and 5-10 minutes.

If you want to specify exactly one minute, use the phrase "one minute". The sentence:

Can you give me just one minute to finish writing this?

...sounds much more specific about how long you are going to spend writing the message.

It's common to add "just" to this phrase:

A: Are you coming?

B: Yeah, just a minute!

finish (doing something)

The word "finish" should be followed by a verb + "-ing":

You come on stage after the finish singing.

I'm almost finished cooking.

Wait until she finishes looking at it.

A common mistake that English learners make is using "to __" instead after "finish".