This study compared the request semantic formula in two sets of Mandarin textbooks to the request strategies of Taiwanese students. The results showed that the textbooks and the students were similar in that both favored indirect request strategies combining with a statement of reasons. In addition, complying with the address maxim of Chinese politeness, both the textbooks and Taiwanese students used titles such as “jiào shòu (professor)” or “lǎo shī (teacher)” to show respect towards a person of high status. Apart from these similarities, the students differed from the textbooks regarding the uses of politeness expressions as supportive strategies. For example, when interacting with a high-status, most students would begin with greeting “lǎo shī hǎo (teacher good)”, apologizing “bào qiàn dǎ rǎo nín (Sorry to bother you)”, or “bù hǎo yì sī (I’m sorry)” at the pre-request phase. Therefore, textbooks design should address how these politeness expressions function in the request speech act.