yes, please vs. please do - answering a question

Discussion in 'English Only' started by pragmatics, Apr 8, 2010.

  1. pragmatics New Member

    Korean -English
    I have a question about the differences between
    "Please do"
    "Yes please"
    "Oh please"

    It seems that "Please do" and "Yes please" are interchangeable but sometimes not. Could you tell me when you use "please do", not "yes please"?
  2. bibliolept

    bibliolept Senior Member

    Northern California
    AE, Español
    In what context do you think they might be used in the same way? Is there a specific example you can provide?
  3. pragmatics New Member

    Korean -English
    Maybe I'm wrong but for example

    Your friend is going to a snack bar.
    Would you like me to get you a candy bar?

    In this case, 'Yes please' and 'Please do' seem both right.
    If I'm wrong, please corret me. It's difficult for me to distinguish these two usages.
  4. bibliolept

    bibliolept Senior Member

    Northern California
    AE, Español
    Both could be used. To me, "yes, please" would be more common in AE, though.
  5. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    I agree. "Please do" in that case could sound a little overbearing, as if the person were subservient to you in some way.
  6. pragmatics New Member

    Korean -English
    Is "Please do" always used in an asymmetrical realtionship?
  7. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    If the person is asking permission to do something (such as open a window or sit next to me) "please do" is a polite invitation that has no connotations of rank to me. There is nothing asymmetrical about the relationship.

    If someone is offering to do something for me I would not use "please do." That is where it can imply an unequal relationship, at least in my opinion. "Please do" in this context can imply "you had better do it".

    For example:

    Boss: "I expected to have the report on my desk yesterday."
    Underling: "Yes, I know. We had problems with our computers that delayed our work but I'll be sure to have it on your desk first thing tomorrow morning."
    Boss: "Please do."

    In this case the "please do" is a veiled warning in the guise of polite language, in my opinion. It means "if it is not on my desk by tomorrow morning there will be consequences."

    Since I hear that as a potential meaning in "please do" I wouldn't use it with a friend who is offering to do something for me.

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