Learn English – “Would you have a suggestion?” Vs. “Do you have a suggestion?”


If you were asking for suggestions, say at stackexchange, what would be the most polite grammatically accurate version:

Statement of the problem followed by:
1. Do you have a suggestion?
2. Would you have a suggestion?
3. Would you happen to have a suggestion?

I didn't think of this till I used (2) today morning. When I re-read the question after a couple hours, the construction sounded odd to me. Is (2) grammatically correct? Is it more polite than (1)? Is it old-fashioned? Why does it sound a bit odd?

Would you have any thoughts?
Do you have any thoughts?
Would you happen to have any thoughts?

Best Answer

All three are grammatically correct and I don't think any of them sound odd. Number 1 is the most concise and so I would generally prefer that.

We often ask "would you" or "could you" instead of stating what we want the person to do to be polite. Like, "Would you put that back in the box when you are done with it?" is a polite request. "Put that back in the box when you are done with it" is an order and might be considered rude.

But "do you" makes it a question rather than an order anyway, so is just as good as "would you". And making a suggestion is unlikely to be considered a chore, there's a certain implied compliment in asking someone for a suggestion, so there's not as big a need to make it more polite. "Send suggestions to xxx@example.com" probably wouldn't be considered rude even though it is phrased as a command.