verb-subject order in statements

English grammar and usage issues

Moderator: Joe

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verb-subject order in statements

Unread post by Lone »

Dear Joe,

Recently, I've encountered sentences with the verb-subject order without a question mark at the end. For example:

Please would you transfer the stock to your suspense account and delete the item from your consolidated statements.
Please could you sign the documents and return them to us after they have been notarized in your country.
Could you please let me know when the new cheque is ready.

Could you please tell me why full stops, instead of question marks, are used in the above sentences?
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Joined: 15 Dec 2010, 08:53
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Re: verb-subject order in statements

Unread post by Joe »

My understanding is that these are not actual questions. They are in fact instructions (or even imperatives) formulated in question style to be polite, but in fact the speaker does not expect to receive an answer such as "Yes, I could" or "No, I couldn't" :)

This is very common in English.

Tbh, sometimes people do add a question mark, but it's kind of optional unless you want to be even more polite:

Could you open the window please.
Could you open the window please?

Would you mind moving down a bit.
Would you mind moving down a bit?
"We are not wholly bad or good, who live our lives under Milk Wood :? " — Dylan Thomas, Under Milk Wood

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