I have these two questions:

  • Could you give me a call please as I need to speak to you about something?
  • What is the name of the reference because there is something important that I need to look up?

The actual question stops at the word 'please' in the first question. The actual question stops at the word 'reference' in the second question.

Should these two questions be split into two sentences like this:

  • Could you give me a call please? There is something I need to speak to you about.
  • What is the name of the reference? There is something important that I need to look up.

The structure of your second sentence in the first example is a little awkward. What does "because" apply to? I am sure you meant "I am asking you this because...". But that meaning won't always be clear for all sentences.

For example, consider this sentence:

Who went to the store because I need to call them?

What did I mean? Did I mean that I need to call the person who went to the store? Or did I mean that someone went to the store because I need to call "them", and I want to know who that was?

If I restructure that sentence like this, then the meaning is clear:

Who went to the store? I need to call them.

In your particular case, they could be written either way. But I would write it the second way because its meaning is more obvious.


Both questions could be written either way, but there ought to be a comma after please and reference if you write them as single sentences.

But, in both cases, the second part/sentence adds nothing useful and is redundant.

In the first case in particular, the second part is stating the obvious: why else would you be asking him/her/them to call you? You give no indication as to whom your are writing, but rather than say you want to speak about "something", it would be at least polite to state briefly what you want to talk about. If you are writing to a company (or to an individual on a business matter), stating what you want to speak about would give them an opportunity to make sure the appropriate person calls you, and/or to have the necessary information available.

In the second case, a more polite way of expressing what you want would be (for example):

  • Would you please let me know the details/name of the reference, as I would like to refer to it?

Two additional comments:

  • You don't actually specify which reference - it may be obvious to you what you are referring to, but think about whether it will be obvious to them.
  • I wouldn't say There is something important ... - it may be important to you, but probably not to them, and is irrelevant.
  • 1
    Your suggested use of a comma here is syntactically incorrect.
    – Sildoreth
    Jun 6 '13 at 14:49
  • If there is a specific topic, I agree that it's better to mention it. However, saying "I need to speak to you about something" or simply "I need to speak to you" can imply that the topic is important. Saying that something important can be relevant. For example, the other party might value knowing that something is important to you. A statement like "Stop calling me 'kiddo'" might be interpreted as playing along with a playful tease, unless you preface it with: "I need to speak to you about something. Stop calling me 'kiddo.'" Jun 6 '13 at 18:20

As a (perhaps) extreme pragmatist, I am fond of saying, "There is more than one way to swing a dead cat." (By the way, I love cats! Don't call the ASPCA or the FBI.)

Your first two sentences communicate fairly well, but I'm probably as uncomfortable as you are with the question marks.

Your second two examples of two sentences, each, sound better than the first two examples. Nevertheless, you are not limited to either/or. You're always free to rephrase the information any way you please, yes? When talking face to face in public with another person whom you need to talk to privately:

"I need to speak to you [in private]. Would you please give me a call?"


I need to speak to you [in private], so please give me a call. OK?"

To a person who has the name of the reference (book?) you need to consult to answer a question:

"There's something important I need to look up, so would you please give me the name of the reference [book]?"

Language is flexible; you, too, be flexible, as you apparently are.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.