May 18, 2018 - 05:22 PM
In general people do not say "please" like we often do in English. The equivalent would be 请"qǐng" but in the sense of please+do something. For example you get into a restaurant and the owner will say "qǐng zuò", "please sit". Another example: 请你先吃饭 "qǐng nǐ xiān chīfàn", please eat first. Another: 请说一下 "qǐng shuō yíxià", please say something. You cannot use qǐng in a sentence like "I'd like a cup of coffee please". You'd have to say "Please give me a cup of coffee". However, as I said before, people don't say please a lot, unless in a formal situation (customer employee for example). That's why to us people sound rude when we say 我要一杯咖啡 wǒ yào yì bēi kāfēi, I want a cup of coffee, without "please", but it's perfectly normal and not rude in China.
May 21, 2018 - 07:43 AM
I am a native speaker and I think Fabrice explained it very well. Another scenario of using 请 is when asking strangers for information, for example if you ask a stranger on the street for direction, you'd start your question with 请问 (qing wen), 怎么去天安门？(zenme qu tiananmen?)