Learn English – To indirectly and politely ask about something “I wanted to” vs “I would like to”


When asking someone for some information indirectly which one is preferable?

"I wanted to" e.g. "I wanted to ask your advice on ..."

"I would like to" e.g. "I would like to ask about your advice on..."

Best Answer

In my mind, I barely hear any difference between your two options. The use of past-tense "wanted" over present tense "want" in the first example could be debated. However, I feel the most polite way to express this would be "May I ask your advice on ..."

There are some pedantic types out there that would say that all of these are too passive: you are asking permission to ask (i.e. "May I ask you a question?" "You just did.")

A more assertive statement might be, "If you don't mind my asking, what is your advice on..."