I would like to ask a question about the expression, “...and would I please .... . ” Which appeared in a mystery novel. I’ve been wondering what the expression means. And why is the word “please” in there?

After studying this expression, I’ve found this used in two ways. One is used as the example A: ...... and would I please ….., which I came across while reading as I said.
The other is as in the example B: Would I please ….. Are they the same in meaning in both cases?

Example A: Before we started filming, Dickie wrote to me saying that Jane was going to be in the film, and would I please be nice to her.
(My Word is My Bond: The Autobiography By Roger Moore) I got married and quit teaching for a while, but during World War II, when my husband Comer was overseas, Frankell School had dwindled until it was just one room. There was about a dozen children going there then. They came to me and said would I please come; they needed a teacher. (From The Empty Schoolhouse: Memories of One-Room Texas Schools)

Example B: Yes, I discovered the North Pole in April, 1809. But shortly after I got there the polar bears came to me in a body and told me there was a great deal of coal there, buried beneath the snow. They knew, they said, that human beings would do anything, and go anywhere, to get coal. So would I please keep it a secret Because…….
(From The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle)

  • 3
    Whether they start with and or so, it's the same (passive) form, for which the active form would be something like Please be nice to her. The word please appears in the passive form because it is reporting speech (in the active form) that contained the word please. I'm not sure what you mean by free in your title, though.
    – Lawrence
    Apr 29, 2016 at 10:52
  • There is nothing in the slightest passive about either of the examples. "Please" is effectively an adverb (you can call it an interjection if you like) and the verb "be" and "keep" is active in both cases.
    – Colin Fine
    Apr 29, 2016 at 15:07

1 Answer 1


Yes, it is a kind of indirect speech: we can conclude that Dickie wrote "Will you please be nice to her"; and that they came and said "Will you please keep it a secret".

I can imagine it being used when the request (and the "please") was not explicit, but implied; but in these cases, I think it was explicit.

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