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I'm wodering about the correct, or natural, way to say "could you please add some sugar to my coffee?"

My unnatural-sounding way would be 在我的咖啡可以加糖吗, but I feel like a Chinese speaker is unlikely to use 可以 in that direct of a way, and it seems like I need some word to indicate that I actually want it in my coffee. Any advice would be apprciated!

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    Minimally modify your sentence: 在我的咖啡可以加糖吗? or 可以在我的咖啡加糖吗?
    – xenophōn
    Jul 6, 2017 at 5:21

6 Answers 6

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It would be more natural to say 「請幫我的咖啡加點糖。」or more directly 「請幫我加點糖。」(if you're pointing at your coffee, it'll be more natural)。 If you say 「在我的咖啡可以加糖吗?」, it sounds like you're asking if it is suitable to add sugar to your coffee. As a native Chinese speaker, this is my advice. e.g. Could you please add more salt to this dish? Thank you. 幫我把這道菜加點鹽,謝謝。

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  • 「帮我的咖啡」, really? I would never have guessed. But thanks for confirming my suspicions that my way doesn't sound natural!
    – user11315
    Jul 12, 2015 at 16:34
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    @user11315 Regarding the specific use of 可以 in your original question, part of the unnaturalness is due it being the direct translation from the English 'can/could'. English speakers tend to make requests by asking whether something can or could be done, with the implication that the receiver would go ahead and perform the request if it was possible. Chinese speakers tend to be more to the point, and simply ask the receiver to do it for them. 请 (please), 帮我 (help me), or 麻烦你 (to trouble you) are often used to make it clearer that it's a request rather than a demand.
    – Claw
    Jul 13, 2015 at 4:51
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you can say like this

" 可以给我的咖啡加点糖吗? "

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能给我的咖啡加点糖吗 or 可以给我的咖啡加点糖吗 Could can be translated in 能 or 可以。and place the begin of the line.

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could you please add some sugar to my coffee?

1 可以往我的咖啡里加点儿糖吗? 2 可以在我的咖啡里加点儿糖吗?

Hope this can help.

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  • Both of these options feel quite contrived to me.
    – Buddy L
    Aug 9, 2022 at 19:09
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There are already a few answers above, esp., @stonecutter and maybe @jackdonwang as well. One thing about their answers is regarding "可以", as @claw pointed out: it's not common for a native speaker to use 可以 in such scenarios.

Finally, regarding @hsiaoyang's answer. It's too long to add comments below his/her answer to I put them here:

Not sure where @hsiaoyang grew up, but it would be rare for native chinese speakers (including myself) from mainland to say the ways he/she suggested. For us, "請幫我的咖啡加點糖。" is usually said as "请给我的咖啡加点糖" or "请帮我给我的咖啡加点糖" (maybe because it's not semantically right to say "帮咖啡“?). And more importantly, "在我的咖啡可以加糖吗?" seems quite unnatural, or even ungrammatical -- I do not think I have ever heard, or would expect any mainland native speakers speaking that way. Lastly, " 幫我把這道菜加點鹽" also seems not quite natural for us (probably also never heard of); the closest way we say for the intended meaning is "(请)帮我 这道菜加点盐". Other parts of @hsiaoyang seem to be fine.

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Another option: 请给我的咖啡里放一点糖。, or if the sugar comes in lumps or cubes: 请给我的咖啡里放一块糖。

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