Don’t Let These Words Trick You Into Thinking You’re Asking a Question
- On June 26, 2018
I recently received a flurry of emails that share the same mistake: They all include statements incorrectly punctuated as questions. As a result, the authors sound uncertain, which I know was not their intent.
Here are the words—each with a hint of possibility—that seemed to trip them up.
- We hope we might be able to shift the workshop to a Thursday in August? Hoping for something is not a question—but asking whether it’s possible is, so the correct question would be, Can we shift the workshop to a Thursday in August?
- It would be great if we could talk? No question there, just a statement about what you want: It would be great if we could talk.
- Perhaps we can connect the week of August 21? If you flip can and we, you get a legitimate question: Can we perhaps connect the week of August 21? But I’d ditch perhaps. It’s superfluous and makes the author sound unnecessarily tentative.
It’s business—go ahead and assert yourself.