Student or Learner
Can I use full stop in the following sentence:-
"Could you let me have the document by next Monday."
Or I must use full stop and cannot use question mark in the above sentence?
I was taught that if is a genuine question, then use a question mark; if it is really ( = in reality) an order "hidden" in a
question, then use a period.
I did some googling, and it seems that there is no one "correct" answer.
The following is only my thoughts:
1. If you are talking to a fellow employee, you would probably consider it as a question:
"Say, Mona. I was wondering: Could you let me have the document by next Monday? The boss is really pressing me
for an answer." [Did you notice that when you ask a real question, your voice keeps rising to the end?]
2. If you were the boss, you probably would not want to "beg" an employee for something. Of course, you would
not want to be rude: "I want that document by next Monday!" So you "hide" your order in a question form:
Tony, could you let me have the document by next Monday. I need it by noon. [Did you notice that when it is not a
real question, your voice does not rise. It sounds the same as if you had said: "I want that document by next Monday."]
HAVE A NICE DAY!
Thanks a lot for taking the trouble to provide me with your examples. Much appreciated.
Actually, I am thinking of the same context. For example, if I am the client, I think it is appropriate to write an e-mail to the service provider and ask them "Could you let me have the documents by next Monday." using a period instead of a question mark. Am I right?
It's fairly common to leave the question mark off the end of requests beginning with could. Your usage is OK to many people, but some would say it requires a question mark. In your context, I would say it is OK, but some may disagree.
Thank you for your kind note.
As the other posters have told you, what is "right" is open to discussion.
Of course, I cannot tell you what is "right."
I can, however, tell you that one reputable grammar advice website says that a period is needed in:
"Could you please send me your catalogue." That website (englishclub.com) claims that it is a polite request
in the form of a question, so it takes a period.
Of course, other experts would tell you that it should (or "can") take a question mark.
I think that a question mark could be considered more polite. So it could not hurt to use a question mark in
your example. On the other hand, some people might think that a question mark in your example might show that you
are "begging" while a period might indicate a polite but firm request.
Furthermore, consider the cultural aspects. In some cultures, people are very careful to show great respect and
deference to "superiors." A question mark or period might make a big difference to some people who read the sentence.
If you do not use a question mark, that might indicate that you are expecting the documents by next Monday. That
"order" might possibly upset the person who reads your email.
Let's put it this way: you cannot lose anything by using a question mark. But it is possible that using a period could
I suggest that you go with your gut feeling. In other words, do what you think is right. And, of course, accept the
Best of luck to you!
P.S. Personally, I would use a question mark to my provider. I am a very timid soul who is very deferential to my superiors. I would not feel comfortable giving an "order" to my provider. If they did not provide the documents by next Monday, then I would be left in a very embarrassing situation. My "order" had been disobeyed.
In the case of the "catalogue" sentence, I definitely would use a period, for there is no time limit. It's really just a nice
way to say ""Please send me a catalogue." (If they do, they do; if they don't, they don't. I don't care that much.)
Thanks again for your lengthy response.
I have no preference in using a period or a question mark. It is just that I was once told that I could use a period and I did use a period sometimes, so I want to make sure that it is grammatically acceptable. Otherwise, I would be very embarrassed. Thank you all for your explanation.