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Which one is correct in this context?

Person A: I think Apple will displace Google.
Person B: Please explain.

Should he say/write "Explain please"?

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up vote 10 down vote accepted


Please explain


Explain, please

are grammatically correct. However, the former is vastly more common, and more to the point, it is also quite a bit more polite. Putting the please at the end makes it obvious that this is a command; putting the please first makes it more of a request.

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You can write "please explain," or "explain, please."

I prefer "please explain," but that is just a matter of style; both the phrases are perfectly fine.

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An adverb (please) may precede or follow the verb it modifies, so either would be correct, though you would probably want a comma for the latter:

Explain, please.

However, as you can see from this nGram, please explain is far more commonly used.

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(+1) Without the comma, "explain please" seems more like a request to explain the meaning or purpose of a polite word. Similarly, a demand to "explain now" (without the comma) is very different from a demand to "explain, now" (with the comma). – Randolf Richardson Jun 6 '11 at 20:13

I would say Please explain is more suitable here. Not that I know so much about it but that sounds more appropriate for me to use please at the end of the sentence when I am using it with a noun;

Licence, please.

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Order: Expain please
Request: Please explain

Both look correct but the Please explain is much more common while the other might be common in the Army.

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Why would "explain please" be more common in the Army? – Nicole Apr 16 '15 at 12:48
Since its formal and please expain would sound casual in the Army. – lemm Apr 16 '15 at 15:11

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