I frequently use sentences such as:

Please share information about X with me.


Please let me know if I can help you further.

I tend to end sentences that I begin with a full stop. I don't recall where I learned to do this. One of my colleagues recently suggested that I use a question mark at the end of a sentence (typically a request) beginning with "Please" with a question mark to make it clearer that this is a request.

I can't seem to find a grammatical rule or guideline about this. Please would someone either help clarify this for me, or point me in the right direction. Thank you.

  • 2
    I wouldn't have thought that a question mark was appropriate unless the request is in the form of a question - "Please can you do this?" Sep 11, 2022 at 7:06
  • 1
    Okay, I'd use a question mark for the would not the please: Please would someone either help clarify this for me? Sep 11, 2022 at 14:37

1 Answer 1


Requests can be formulated as questions, but the syntax has to be that of a question or at least the intonation must correspond to that of a question (rising), and in this second case, in writing, a question mark is used so as to show that the sentence is really a question in spite of the syntax, which corresponds to that of an assertion. The idea in opting for a question is to avoid the imperative, this being so because the imperative mood is used for giving orders, and that without the addition of some terms such as "please" or "would you?" it can sound harsh, especially when talking with people that you do not know well. Except for elliptical questions without subject or verb, or both, question marks are not used. Here is a note from CoGEL (A comprehensive grammar of the English language) concerning marginal use of question marks.

(CoGEL) Note Use of more than one question mark or exclamation mark or combinations of the two to suggest extreme doubt or surprise is confined to very informal writing such as stories for children.

Using a question mark in a form that is basically an order is nonsense.

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