Here are a few phrases you can use to ask for information in a more formal way. They are all indirect questions which increase the degree of politeness.
- I’d like to know how much that car costs.
- Do you happen to know if that sweater is on sale?
- Could you tell me how old you are?
- Could you find out when they arrived?
As you can see the first does not have a question mark at the end of the sentence. Moreover, note that the auxiliaries in the main question are omitted and that there are no inversions in indirect questions. You should also pay close attention to the fact that the verbs are conjugated (i.e. costs, arrived) whereas in a direct question they would be in the base verb due to the presence of an auxiliary (do, does, did).
In the first example, I’d is a contraction for I would.
In the second example, it’s similar to Do you know by chance...?
In the fourth example, find out is a phrase verb that means discover .
Listen to the podcast and repeat after the speaker. Concentrate on articulating at first. Then, listen for the natural pauses in the sentence and repeat.[audio http://audioboo.fm/boos/1160172-english-phraseology-asking-for-information-b1.mp3]