Do we need to put question mark at the end of a sentence that starts with "may I suggest"? I have seen both used but I am unsure which one is correct.

For example: "May I suggest you read the rules"

Which punctuation mark should I use, a full stop or a question mark?

1 Answer 1


The bare statement "I suggest you read the rules." requires a period.
Starting the sentence with may, as in "May I suggest you read the rules?" seems to turn it into a question.

This site shows examples of may in this sense used in expressions with and without question marks:
thefreedictionary modal auxiliary verbs - may

Making a polite offer
Like can, we can use may to offer do something for someone else, though it is generally a more polite, formal way of doing so. For example:

“May I help you set the table?”
“May we be of assistance in any way?”  

As a rhetorical device
Sometimes, we use may in this way as a rhetorical device to politely introduce or emphasize an opinion or sentiment about something, in which case we invert may with the subject. For instance:

“May I just say, this has been the most wonderful experience of my life.”
“May we be clear that our firm will not be involved in such a dubious plan.”
“May I be frank: this is not what I was hoping for.”

To me, your original example with a question mark suggests a rising intonation, and sounds polite, while the one ending with a period suggests a flat intonation and is less polite.

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