Asking permission in English of guest to do something may arise from time to time. Hotel staff may find themselves in situations where they will have to take some action that will effect the guest, so knowing expressions for this is essential. The staff should politely ask the guest for their permission before taking any action.

The guest may also ask permission to do something. It is only polite to ask for their permission before doing so. There are several expressions that can use used for asking for permissions in English. Look at the expressions below.

To ask permission Possible responses
Do you mind if . . . No, I don’t mind. Go ahead.
May I . . . Sure, no problem.
Would it be a problem if . . . No problem at all.
Would it be OK if . . . No, please don’t
I need to … Is that OK? I would prefer that you didn’t.
Is it OK if . . . I really wish you wouldn’t.

Dialogue- Asking permission in English

Staff: May I pour you more wine, ma’am?
Guest: Sure.

Staff: Do you mind if I clean the room now, sir?
Guest: Actually, would it be possible for you to come back in half an hour?
Staff: No problem, ma’am.

Guest: May I borrow you pen.
Staff: Absolutely sir, here you go.

Guest: Would it be a problem if I left my luggage here for a few minutes?
Staff: No problem at all, sir. I’ll, keep on eye on it.

Staff: Is it OK if I make a copy of your passport?
Guest: Sure, whatever you need.

Practice Activities, Asking permission in English
Remember that one of the best was to improve your English skills is to use the language over and over again. It may sound boring and tedious but it works to make the language readily accessible for use when needed.

1. Role Play

Practice asking permission in English by role playing the situations below. One person take the role of a hotel guest and another a guest. Use some of the phrases and expressions above. For additional practice switch roles.

Permission by Staff

Move some luggage out of the passage way
Open a window
Refill a coffee cup
Pull down a shade
Get their room key or card

Permission by guest

Leave bags behind a counter
Smoking in a restaurant
Borrow a pen
Take newspaper from lounge to read in room
Leave a message for a friend

2. Group Activity- Develop a skit

Divide the class into groups of 2 or 3. Students work together to develop a skit that is grammatically correct about guests asking for permission to do something . The request should be denied and the reasons given. The guest should continue to try to convince the staff that their request should be granted. Once the skit is developed, students present it to the teacher and the rest of class. The teacher judges the skit based on grammar and language use, originality, and acting ability.

3. Discussion

Have a discussion about what staff might ask a guest’s permission to do before doing it? How often does this happen? What kinds of things do guests ask permission about? How often does that happen? Why is it important to ask for polite permission before acting? What could be the possible consequences if action were taken before permission granted?

Work Sheets for asking permission.

Other Links
Asking Permission
Asking for Permission