When writing a question which is requesting action and not information, do you put a question mark at the end?
e.g. Please would you circulate this email to the rest as the staff (?)
10 October, 2007 at 16:48
Total posts: 26
Reply To: request for action not information – question mark or not
Personally I often tend not to, as I would argue that eg Can you open your books at page 200 / Would you please return this form by 5th November are not questions in any but the strictly formal sense (ie they have interrogative form). They certainly don’t function as questions – they’re orders.
However, I would use a question mark in a request if I thought that the answer might be "no", however. For instance in an E-mail: David, I’m on nights next week but I want to go to the Stones concert. Would you swop shifts with me? It’s a request, but it’s also a real question.
How do you do is another example of the same sort of thing. Formally it’s a question, functionally it isn’t, and therefore the ? tends to be dropped.