Useful phrases

I’m just putting together a new phrases page – a collection of translations of the phrase “Could you write it/that down please?”. You can see what I’ve done so far here. Corrections and additional translations are very welcome.

Are there any other phrases you’d like to see in the phrases section?

Do you think that the current way the phrases section is constructed is useful? Or would you prefer to have phrases listed by language?

This entry was posted in Language, Words and phrases.

23 Responses to Useful phrases

  1. ISPKN says:

    I, for one, would actually prefer them to be organized by language. Sometimes it’s useful to get a few phrases for a single language, without having to go to phrase list after phrase list after phrase list. Perhaps you should have it organized by both, because it’s also enjoyable to compare the languages.

  2. Polly says:

    Here’s one for Armenian:

    Հաճիս ատիկա Կ՛րնաիք գրել:
    hajis adiga g’rnaiik krel
    Please that could you(pol.) write.

    For Russian, my suggestion would be a more abbreviated form:
    Можно это записать?
    Mozhno eta zapisat?
    Is it possible this to write down?
    I think Russians tend to use the passive voice in cases like this.

  3. Polly says:

    I didn’t see ISPKN’s comment before. I agree. I often like to check out all the phrases for a particular language together.
    Simon, I don’t think I’m overstating the case when I say that you have a good reference site for beginning the study of a new language.

  4. Josh says:


    Biadagoz àgloi čezo?
    (Could you write that [here] please?)

  5. Aeneas says:

    Puoi scriverlo per favore?

    Pouvez-vous l’écrire s’il vous plaît?

    Personally, I like how you have the phrases set up right now, but I also see the advantage of sorting them by language.

  6. Juliette says:


    Zou u het/dat alstublieft voor mij willen opschrijven ?

  7. Halabund says:

    There’s a mistake in the Hungarian version:
    Instead of
    Írja le, kérem? Leírná, kérem
    it should be
    Írja le, kérem! Leírná, kérem?
    because the second version a question, but the first one is simply: “Please write it down!”
    Puteţi să-l scrieţi, vă rog?

  8. Polly says:

    I spoke to a Russian speaking friend and they told me the command form would sound better even though technically my suggestion was also correct.
    So, disregard my Russian translation.

  9. Joe Sweeney says:

    Simon, first off let me say I have only discovered your website a few days ago. Kudos! What a wonderful site with a great group of discussants. The topics* that spring from here are quite interesting, which goes to show that many polyglots are also polymaths! But to the topic at hand….

    A late friend of mine was a devoted traveler, but no polyglot—indeed not even a biglot. He once spent a year in mainland China and knew no Chinese before his departure. Not wanting to limit his travels to main urban centers where English speakers would more likely be found, he had a Chinese friend prepare numerous 3×5 index cards with questions/statements/words that were designed to satisfy the basic elements of simple communication as well as matters of grave concern, such as medical emergencies. I remember one of the most important cards, by his account, had the phrase, “Can you take me to someone who speaks English please?”

    *General question re: blog format and protocol: Is there a place where one can pose or initiate a question? I have several and have looked in vain for a topic heading where my questions my fit in. Even the “General” heading starts with an initial question you pose and I hesitate to pose a question to you or other members that is clearly a nonsequitur from the original or ensuing questions. Thanks.

  10. anònim says:

    Catalan: «Pot escriure-ho, si us plau?».

  11. anònim says:

    Hmm, an alternative for Catalan: «Que m’ho podria escriure, si us plau?».

  12. Osian says:

    For Welsh you wrote:

    Gewch chi ysgrifennu hynna, os gwelwch yn dda?
    Gei di ysgrifennu hynna, os gweli di’n dda?

    “Gewch chi/Gei di…?” means “Can you?” as in “Are you allowed to / Do you have permission to?” It sounds like you’re writing someone’s personal details down without their permission and I’m asking “Are you sure you’re allowed to write that?”.

    Go for “Wnewch chi/Wnei di…?” instead.

  13. Bruno says:

    Brazilian Portuguese: Você pode escrever isso pra mim por favor?

    Literally, that’s to say “Could you write that for me, please?,” but I feel the verbatim translation—”Pode escrever isso, por favor?”—would sound a bit too artificial or even rude in speech.

    The most fluent sounding way of saying it would be “Escreve isso pra mim, por favor?,” using the imperative; “do write that for me, please?”

    By the way, gorgeous idea for a phrase–list. Would there be a collateral list anywhere teaching us how to ask “how do I read/pronounce that”?

  14. Alain Vaillancourt says:


    Pourriez-vous me l’écrire?


    Pourriez-vous me l’écrire SVP?


    Auriez-vous l’obligeance de me l’écrire, SVP?

  15. David says:

    Are you thinking about having a numbers page, days of the week or months? I think this would be a great idea as well.

  16. Giovanni says:

    Aeneas’s Italian version “Puoi scriverlo per favore?” is totally correct (well, I would place a comma before “per”) but informal.
    That it, it would be okay to say it to 20-year-olds on the street when you ask for a piece of information, but normally you should use the 3rd person singular towards strangers, in an office or so:

    “Può scriverlo, per favore?” (formal)

  17. Martin says:

    Skulle du kunna skriva ned det åt mig?

  18. Declan says:

    I would like to see them arranged by language personally, hopefully both like the way you have scripts arranged in a number of ways.

    For Irish:
    “An féidir leat é sin a scríobh síos dom?”
    “An scríobhfaidh tú é sin síos dom?”
    Can you take recordings in .wav format?

  19. Simon says:

    Declan – recordings in just about any format, including .wav, are fine.

  20. renato says:

    Bruno don’t forget that in formal Portuguese language, from Portugal or Brazil ( even being not used nowadays) the correct form (grammatical one is tu podes, por favor, escrever isto para mim? tu is used in singular form, or you may say Vós podeis, por favor, escrever isto para mim?
    Vós is used in plural or to older people. The form you used is the popular one with você as personal pronoum.

  21. Harris Engelmann says:

    the phrase in Yiddish

    זײַ אַזױ גוט, און קאָנסטו דאָס אָנשרײַבן?
    (zay azoy gut, un konstu dos onshraybn?)

    זײַט אַזױ גוט, און קאָנט איר דאָס אָנשרײַבן?

    (zayt azoy gut, un kont ir dos onshraybn?)

    The first is informal, the second formal or plural

    Also, for the Yiddish page, I would recommend the website for the Yiddish Forverts, the largest secular newspaper in Yiddish and the oldest currently published newspaper in Yiddish, at

    The website includes samples of articles as well as the weekly “Forverts-Sho” (Forward Hour) radio program.

  22. Geoff says:

    Once you can announce that your hovercraft is full of eels, is there anything else you could possibly need or want to add?

    Being able to look things up by language would be nice, as you could then run a print-out for whatever language you’re starting. But then they have the nifty “Essential Phrases” in the front covers of phrasebooks for that too. On the other hand, your current setup provides a sort of language museum that is pretty much unrivaled. However you set things up, whenever someone mentions they’re learning a new language, I’ll still point them here to get started.

  23. prase says:

    Similarly to the comment on Hungarian – in the Czech version the second phrase (napište mi to, prosím) is an imperative, so the question mark is incorrect.

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