I am not a native English speaker. Last week, I sent Email to my manager saying "Please, tell me the meeting date". My manager replied: You meant "Can you tell me the meeting date" So, I am not sure what is the difference! Also, I am not sure whether he means that I should be more formal? or less formal with him! So confusing!!!
- Tell me the meeting date.
This is not at all polite. There is no pretense of it being polite; it's an instruction.
- Please tell me the meeting date.
- Tell me the meeting date, please.
Slightly more polite, but still not generally polite. It's still obviously a directive, an instruction, and since your boss objected to it, they probably found it impolite, but given what you've written, they probably understand you're not a native speaker of English and as such aren't very familiar with formality, etc.
- Can you tell me the meeting date?
This is now a request, and it's more polite than sentences 1, 2, and 3.
- Please, can you tell me the meeting date?
- Can you tell me the meeting date, please?
This is even more polite.
- Could you tell me the meeting date?
More polite than sentence 4, a little less polite than sentence 6.
- Please, could you tell me the meeting date?
- Could you tell me the meeting date, please?
More polite than sentence 6.
That's not to say there aren't other ways to put it (even more, or less politely). I merely considered some likely alternatives while keeping the rest of the sentence fixed. Keep in mind that politeness may depend on other factors, such as context, familiarity, tone, more than simply on the content of your sentence.
Anyway, in a more formal email, I'd go with something like sentence 9 or, in general, with other such constructions:
- Could you please tell me if there's a possibility...
- I wonder if you could possibly...
- Would you mind if...