4

I receive various requests -- over email -- of the form "Would you mind please..." or "Would you please mind..." with and without punctuation. Neither of these sound quite right to my native AE/Californian ear.

Would you mind, please provide some details for us to capture the steps required for future requests?

Would you please mind providing some details for us to capture the steps required for future requests?

Are these grammatically correct? Is there a better way to express these? Is the "please" necessary and in what position in the sentence?

  • 1
    I'm not sure if they are correct, but I agree with you; they don't sound right. I'd think that "Would you mind providing some..." would make more sense. Though technically they are asking you if you'd mind doing this, not to do it. I would use instead "If you don't mind, would you please provide some details...". – please delete me Jul 7 '14 at 22:45
  • 1
    I would say "Neither of these sounds..." but I'm not a native speaker. – Centaurus Jul 7 '14 at 22:54
  • 2
    This 'please' is a pragmatic marker (signifying politeness). Though it is afforded some latitude in where it may be inserted into a sentence, this does not make your first alternative acceptable. Your second alternative is acceptable, both grammatically and stylistically. – Edwin Ashworth Jul 7 '14 at 23:16
  • 3
    Neither of the example sentences are grammatical. I would classify them as having been written by a non-native speaker or a very badly educated native speaker. – John Lawler Jul 8 '14 at 2:25
  • @Centaurus "Neither of and either of are followed by a plural noun or pronoun and a singular or plural verb. A plural verb is more informal:Neither of my parents speaks/​speak a foreign language. When neither… nor… or either… or… are used with two singular nouns, the verb can be singular or plural. A plural verb is more informal." Oxford Learners Dictionary, see grammar point – Phil Sweet May 20 '18 at 11:28
3

Would you mind providing some details, please?

Is perhaps the more 'correct' and slightly more formal way of rephrasing your question. Or the example given by @unorthodox grammar is just as good, and slightly less formal:

If you don't mind, would you please provide some details...?

The please is optional in either place, as the 'would you mind?' conveys enough politeness in my opinion, but it wouldn't hurt to add it in. It would usually come immediately before the action that you are asking the other person to do, i.e. please provide... or tagged on to the very end of the question

If you have quite a long sentence, the 'please' can be placed at the end of the clause where the actual request is made – to avoid waiting for the end of a very long sentence:

Would you mind providing some details please, for us to capture the steps required for future requests?

Alternatively:

Would you mind? Could you (please) provide some details...?

Is a bit more conversational. (Not something you would write in a formal email). Both of the examples you gave I have seen written or heard in everyday conversation, and yes, they do look/sound slightly odd constructions.

If you are making the request in an imperative, but still polite manner, the 'please' can come at the beginning of the request:

Please provide some details for us to...

1

These sound like typical non-native emails, I experience and work with them regularly.

Would you mind on a permission level sits like this...

Would you mind if we continued the meeting this afternoon?

And on a favour level like this...

Would you mind continuing the meeting this afternoon?

The first you'd use in a more formal situation, due to the second being more friendly in its approach.

Your second example sentence is more appropriate, though I would drop the 'please' it gives the email request a certain 'I'm using please because I've already asked this before and nothing's been done about it' feeling.

Hope this helps!

0

The intention is to express a request in a "polite" way. But besides being unnecessary it makes for an awkward sentence. "Please" followed by the request is sufficient.

protected by Community Nov 28 '18 at 14:41

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

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