Please could you release orders for March to June 2019.

  • That's a bureaucratic way of being politically correct when telling people to do something, it's not a question per se. So the terminal period is more common than a mark of interrogation. Note the Please at the beginning -- obviously it's not a question.
    – Kris
    Feb 15 '19 at 7:49
  • It is an interrogative, but it's not being used to ask a question, i.e. you're not asking for an answer. Rather, it's a directive.
    – BillJ
    Feb 15 '19 at 8:36

Using a question mark would change the semantic meaning.

I've heard people say this form both with the raised ending indicating a question and without. I'm less confident than Kris that the ordering between "Please" and "could" is semantically significant, but this is absolutely a candidate for the "politer than thou" do this now! form.

I can imagine some contexts that could potentially suggest it was more likely to be an actual question - specifically, if the person asking doesn't have the authority to give such an order. But I expect that the context is that the person making the statement has the authority to direct the person who would release the orders to release them, but does not have the access to do it themselves. It's also possible they do have the access, but are wanting to exercise their authority over the person they're directing.


Yes. "Could" marks it as a question, so it needs the appropriate punctuation mark.

  • 1
    I wouldn't go along with that. Although it has the form of an interrogative, it's actually a 'directive', not a question, since it is not asking for a reply. (Btw, not my downvote).
    – BillJ
    Feb 15 '19 at 8:39
  • Simply wrong. Grammatically it requires a question mark,whether or not it is pragmatically a directive. Feb 16 '19 at 10:26
  • Directives with the form of a polite request do not require a question mark because they don't ask questions. Syntactically, the OP's example is an interrogative, but semantically it's a directive -- it's not seeking an answer, so no question mark is required.
    – BillJ
    Feb 16 '19 at 11:36

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