Softening the blow...

So far we've looked at simple commands. However, outside the army, we don't normally use these very much — normally we ask people politely. Foreigners in England often make the mistake of thinking that putting please in front of a command makes it into a polite request, which it doesn't (in English we usually have to make it into a question e.g. Could you open the window?) Fortunately, in Lojban, 'please' really is the magic word. Putting the word .e'o before a sentence with ko changes it into a request; e.g.

.e'o ko dunda le cukta mi

is literally "Please give me the book," but is actually more like "Could you give me the book, please?" (Of course, norms of politeness in English do not necessarily translate into other languages, so it is better in such cases to be safe than sorry.)