Tuesday, May 24, 2011

If You Just Tell Me Nicely

When I heard about the Arnold Schwarzenegger scandal, I wasn’t at all surprised at his behavior. Just like I can’t help but associate Richard Gere with gerbils (sorry, Richard) and Mel Gibson with anti-Semitism, to me Schwarzenegger will forever be associated with groping.

What does surprise me is how far Schwarzenegger went to keep all of his indiscretions hidden. I just read an article on the Daily Beast that claimed Schwarzenegger hired an attorney who would discredit the women who accused Schwarzenegger of groping. He also hired a private investigator to protect him from any potential scandals. And apparently, through some complicated transaction, Schwarzenegger even became the executive editor of certain tabloid magazines so he could control any content that might expose him.

This terrifies me. If his scandal could leak despite all of these precautions, then I’m totally screwed. I might as well just come clean.

Like many scandals, mine takes place in a hotel room.

A few weeks ago, my friend texted me a picture of this sign from her hotel room:


She asked whether the sign was grammatically incorrect because it asked “would you please consider using your towel more than once,” but it didn’t end in a question mark.

I said it was.

Well, I was wrong.

I just read this in Punctuation Plain & Simple: “A rhetorical question, which may be simply a polite request, ends with a period.”

This was the example it gave:

Will you please forward our mail to the new address.

Maybe I didn’t know this because my requests are rarely polite.

I understand and deserve the feelings of anger and disappointment among my friends and family regarding my mistake. There are no excuses and I take full responsibility for the hurt I have caused.

Will you please accept my apology.

21 comments:

Shannon said...

Uh, not only did I think it was wrong, but I also do not like that it is right.

I think I may just be a badass and use question marks in these scenarios anyway.

Gorilla Bananas said...

This is very useful to know. I've always felt odd about putting question marks at the end of requests disguised as questions. From now on I won't do it.

Kelly said...

Ha ha ha! I am happy that the hotel sign is correct. It irks me when professionals have spelling errors or mistakes in their advertising.
And me too on the Richard Gere-gerbil thing. Poor guy! What a rumor!

Jeffrey Beesler said...

Wow. I guess this question of question mark usage has me questioning how I mark my questions. Will you please excuse my overabundance of repetitive redundancies.

Sydney said...

wow i never knew this! thank you so much Jenny i like your blog it helps to improve my English (im from Malaysia) :D

Bethany Elizabeth said...

Wow... I had no idea. That's... strange. You learn something new every day, right?

Duncan D. Horne said...

Haha! That's a good one. I wasn't aware of that explanation either.

Duncan In Kuantan

Lindsay said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lindsay said...

Oops. Sorry about that deleted comment. One of those days. LOL.

I didn't know about that rule either. Thanks for the heads up. :)

notesfromnadir said...

So that's a more formal approach?

As for associations, they can change. I see Richard Gere as a kind man who is a student of the Dalai Lama.

the late phoenix said...

how that we're all confessing here, i have a big one: i am the secret love child of patty baena and john edwards.

did you see patty's birthday song serenade reminiscent of marilyn monroe? classic...

Jessica Bell said...

Hahaha! Shame on you! ;o)

Jennifer Fabulous said...

I often end these kinds of questions with periods, but my grammar leaves a lot to be desired, so I always assumed I was wrong. Strange to know I was on to something. Haha!

Shit. I'm probably going to start using a question mark now that I know the real answer.

Jaya J said...

Didn't know that too. Thanks !

Stephanie Faris said...

I would have thought that needed a question mark. Is it really a rhetorical question? It's requesting an answer...

Theresa Milstein said...

I've read that too, but haven't always remembered to follow it. That is, the period on a rhetorical question, not the towels. I always use my towels more than once.

Holly Vance said...

I almost missed your point about polite requests because I was still focused on "Daily Beast." Diction is a powerful thing (and maybe good for your next post).

Or maybe I should get my head examined.

David L Macaulay said...

interesting post - I recently posted about Arnie BTW. What's with that Gere and gerbils rumor? I heard it was hamsters, though. But surely that was an urban myth.
David

http://britsintheus23.blogspot.com/

Stephen Tremp said...

I have to admit I write questions that re really statements. I didn't realize it until now. But I'm not going to change. Question marks and me (or should that be I or myself) never really got along.

Meagan Spooner said...

I feel your pain.

I once read a sentence that was stated to be grammatically incorrect, and I couldn't find the mistake.

It still haunts me to this day. o_o

Julie Musil said...

The fact that you made a small error makes me less afraid of you. That's a good thing, right?

Arnold. Ick.