Results 1 to 9 of 9
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Russian Federation
      • Current Location:
      • Ukraine

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 994
    #1

    I wonder - question mark

    Hello,

    I'm wondering why we use question marks in polite requests that begin with I wonder/I was wondering if they are not questions.

    I wonder if you could tell me where the coffee is?
    I was wondering if you could possibly tell me where the coffee is?
    I'm sorry to trouble you but I was wondering if you think you could possibly tell me where the coffee is?

    Is it because of the rising intonation or is it ...just so?

    Thank you.

  1. 5jj's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 28,134
    #2

    Re: I wonder - question mark

    If we are just expressing our own thoughts (as in I wonder where the coffee is), no question mark is required. If we are actually indirectly asking a question (and that is what we are doing with a polite request), then we commonly use a question mark. In this type of question there is usually no rising intonation.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Russian Federation
      • Current Location:
      • Ukraine

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 994
    #3

    Re: I wonder - question mark

    Thanks! Do I have to use the question mark in this sentence as well?

    I wonder if I can have a receipt, please.

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: Jul 2009
    • Posts: 41,912
    #4

    Re: I wonder - question mark

    Quote Originally Posted by Verona_82 View Post
    Thanks! Do I have to use the question mark in this sentence as well?

    I wonder if I can have a receipt, please.
    No.

    I wonder if I could have a receipt.
    Can I have a receipt please?
    I wonder - could I have a receipt?

  3. 5jj's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 28,134
    #5

    Re: I wonder - question mark

    As before, we commonly use a question mark.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Russian Federation
      • Current Location:
      • Ukraine

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 994
    #6

    Re: I wonder - question mark

    Err.... I hate this phrase, but I don't get it.

    If we aren't expressing your thoughts but making requests, are the structures

    I'm wondering if you...?
    I'm wondering if I..... .

    ?

  4. 5jj's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 28,134
    #7

    Re: I wonder - question mark

    1. I wonder if I closed the window. (I am thinking about it, and trying to decide whether I did or not).
    2. I wonder if you closed the window. (I am thinking about it, and trying to decide whether you did or not).
    3. I wonder if you would close the window, please? (I am asking, perhaps even ordering, you politely to do this)
    4. I wonder if I might/could close the window, please? (I am asking, quite diffidently, for your permission to do this)

    in #1 and #2, 'I am wondering' could indicate a deeper/longer thinking process than 'I wonder'.
    In #3, 'I am wondering' would make the diffidence of the request/order almost silly.
    In #4, 'I am wondering' is diffident to the point of subservient.

    I wonder if I got that right.

    I wonder if there will be any more questions.
    I suppose I could have put a question mark on that last one, indicating that I'd like a response.

    ps. I'm off to bed now. With any luck, somebody else will have joined in before I get back. They might confirm my opinions - or have better ideas.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Russian Federation
      • Current Location:
      • Ukraine

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 994
    #8

    Re: I wonder - question mark

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    I wonder if there will be any more questions.
    Oh, just a little one . I wonder if I should have used a question mark in my first post? Now I think I should.

  5. 5jj's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 28,134
    #9

    Re: I wonder - question mark

    Quote Originally Posted by Verona_82 View Post
    Oh, just a little one . I wonder if I should have used a question mark in my first post? Now I think I should.
    'Could have' rather than 'should have'.

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 5
    Last Post: 20-Sep-2011, 09:04
  2. Question Mark?
    By TheShadow in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 15-Jul-2011, 08:32
  3. Question mark
    By Allen165 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 16-Dec-2010, 15:39
  4. question mark
    By Allen165 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 14-Apr-2010, 22:07
  5. Question mark
    By Cooklava in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 11-Mar-2008, 15:16

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •