April 20, 2010

Could You Read This Post.

Received an email forwarded from Sarah (not her real name) forwarded from one of our bigger bosses -- in terms of authority rather than girth -- which said:
Could you distribute.
A question without a question mark, but then that bit of punctuation would seem too tentative for someone in leadership while apparently a "Please distribute" is too demanding-sounding.

And such is the way language and grammar evolve I suppose.

[And Bill White calls himself the lord of summa minutiae!]


Steven said...

Dear TSO,

I write scores of these things in a week, and one can be both polite and make clear what one wishes. The point is, few people take the time or the effort.



Darwin said...

I take it Sarah did not reply, "I think I could. Would you like me to?"

TS said...

Funny. As it turned out Sarah wasn't above using the word "please" as in "Please see the opportunity below."

Not to over-analyze it (too late for that!) but it seems with corp-speak you can see "please" if it is an opportunity but "could" if it's more a chore, with the task of forwarding a note being thankless and no "opportunity" for Sarah.