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31

In English, it is always an error. There should be no space between a sentence and its ending punctuation, whether that's a period, a question mark, or an exclamation mark. There should also be no space before a colon, semicolon, or comma. The only ending punctuation mark that sometimes needs to be preceded by a space is a dash. I see this error most often ...


24

The British put them outside the quotes, which seems much more logical. The American style is to put the punctuation inside the quotes. The American version is often known as "Typesetter's Quotes". As you can see, I go with the British version, at least in informal writing. Interesting fact: They are called typesetter's quotes because when typesetters ...


22

I think if you ask the experts who would claim that they know what the “correct” way to punctuate something is, they would tell you that a sentence may only have one terminal punctuation mark—that is to say, neither “?!” nor “!?” is correct. So, no matter what order you use, you’ll never please those people. The Corpus of Contemporary American English has ...


15

As far as authority goes, I'd put my money with Fowler's Modern English Usage. In the first edition, Fowler uses spaces before colons, semicolons, question marks, and exclamation marks, but not before full stops or commas. In the second edition, edited by Gowers, none of these stops are preceded by a space any more. The third edition by Burchfield (another ...


14

I guess it depends on what you want to say. In my own usage, '?!' would generally be more frequent, expressing astonishment at a particular question, kind of "WTF?!": You ask a question and then use the exclamation mark to stress its unusuality. On the other hand, '!?' seems much rarer, both in my own usage and what I have observed. I would say it meant ...


12

While the sentence is not technically a question, the use of a question mark indicates that the speaker is inviting a response from others. In that respect, the question mark conveys the speaker's meaning in a way that could not otherwise be indicated in writing without the use of additional words. So I'd say that this use of the question mark is correct ...


12

The "What's new" example you provided is not necessarily a question, it can be a statement as it was something like "Here you can find what is new", so it doesn't obviously need a question mark. Of course you can also name the section (of a site, for example) as "What's new?" and in that case it's legit to use the question mark. Regarding Rhetorical ...


12

Whoever said "The Chicago Manual of Style (6.8) says that When my friends ask, "What do you want for your birthday?," I never know how to respond. is the correct form." was most likely mistaken. To begin with, they are probably referring to the 15th edition, where section 6.8 addresses periods and commas inside quotation marks, rather than the current 16th ...


11

I've mainly seen these in older literature, usually used in dialogue, but sometimes in rhetorical essays. It is rare in common and modern writing. I'd advise against it. You should either capitalize or rephrase/repunctuate: Would you like the drapes to be white? Or perhaps something off-white? Would you like the logo to be centered? At the ...


10

Use the interrobang (quesclamation mark)‽ (I largely kid, of course. This punctuation mark is hardly in common use - though it's perhaps acceptable in various forms of media/advertising.) In all seriousness, it is strictly only legal to use a single punctuation mark at the end of a sentence/phrase.


10

As reported in Comma sense—a fun-damental guide to punctuation (Richard Lederer and John Shore, ISBN 0-312-34255-1), the question mark should be used once, and inside the quotation marks. Did you hear me ask, "Do you think that I love punctuation?" If the quoted sentence contain an exclamation point, then both the exclamation point and the question ...


9

Your hunch is correct. Bryan Garner writes: Writers sometimes err by putting a question mark after an indirect question, especially one beginning with I wonder. Garner's Modern American Usage


9

Regarding "What happens when there's a question mark and only part of the sentence is a question?" and your three suggestions, my opinions are: I was distracted by a plane (or was it Superman?) ‒ Is missing period. I was distracted by a plane (or was it Superman?). ‒ Is ok I was distracted by a plane (or was it Superman)? ‒ Treats whole as question I ...


8

"Who knows?" is an example of a rhetorical question, because it is really a statement that does not actually ask for an answer. The consensus is that it's sometimes OK to skip question marks for rhetorical question. Some people will say you shouldn't ever skip a question mark for a rhetorical question, and no one minds if you use a question mark, so I ...


7

In formal writing, even rhetorical questions must always end with a question mark, so says Fowler and probably most other style guides. In informal writing, and perhaps with certain short questions that have become fixed expressions, a full stop could be used instead. I believe you will often find how do you do and what's up written with full stops. I also ...


7

According to the Interrobang wikipedia page, this symbol [‽] has been created to convey the meaning of your question. Using it you ask "a question in an excited manner, express excitement or disbelief in the form of a question, or ask a rhetorical question." But, always in that page, you can see it's a nonstandard symbol, so like it says, "in standard ...


6

I like ?! and think interrobang is ugly, but that's just my personal aesthetic. As others have said, there doesn't seem to be a strict rule. Pick the one you like. We could assume the ordering conveys information, i.e. whichever one comes first is the dominate one. So ?! would be a question asked excitedly, and !? would be an exclaimed question. But ...


6

Actually, sentences that begin with 'could', 'should', or 'would' are questions and should have a trailing question mark. Your original quote, "Could you please pass me the pepper shaker?", could be answered with a "yes" or "no." Although we usually use this syntax as a command it is not the same as the command "Pass me the pepper shaker," or "Please pass ...


6

A question within a sentence should be preceded by a comma, and end with a question mark. I am wondering, how long has that fish statue been there? There are three important issues that this committee must address. What was the chairman doing in that YouTube video? is not among them. If a question is particularly long or complex, then for clarity ...


6

The comma can signify a pause, but it also has many other grammatical functions. In fact, I would say that most uses of the comma are not actually marking pauses, but since it marks clausal boundaries, it often aligns with pauses. But if we actually used commas to mark all of the places we wanted pauses, sentences would actually look quite strange (and if ...


6

I think you are referring to cases such as: A: I'm so coming with you later! B: Err... No? In informal writing such as chat, it's perfectly acceptable, and other similar "stylistic" choices are fine. In formal writing it should be absolutely avoided, since to express the same function there are other ways to achieve the same result in a better form. ...


6

I assume you do not want to put the question in quotes, as if the character were saying it, thus: "Could she go to the store?" he wondered. If you want to describe him thinking, then you could put the thought in italics: Could she go to the store? he wondered. Or you could rephrase the sentence: He wondered if she could go to the store. It ...


6

Using the question-mark alone is the formal, grammatically correct thing to do. Informally, however, the use of ?! or !? is actually an interrobang, and you could write it with a single punctuation mark if you really wanted to: What did you do to my sausages‽ I've never seen anyone do this before, though. Let me know how it works out.


6

A comma indicates a brief pause, or delineates subordinate or relative clauses within a sentence. Speech tends to be more informal – you can certainly use a comma as per your example. You could also use a dash like so: What are you going to do – sue me? See http://oxforddictionaries.com/words/dash for more examples.


5

The comma there also gives the sentence the right syntax. Consider this sentence: You're coming with us ok? It looks wrong, it doesn't meake any sense. Obviously, since you know the language, you can "add" with your brain the comma and give it a sense, in order to understand the sentence. But then you see that the comma has more purpose than just ...


5

Well, there is the linguists approach and then there is the standard, formal written English approach. A linguist would just say that double punctuation exists and probably varies based on pragmatic issues, for example, if the text is both a question and emphatic. If you want to write standard, formal written English, you wouldn't use double or multiple ...


5

You should be aware that most style guides will tell you not to use an interrobang even if you have one; moreover, a single sentence-ending punctuation mark is sufficient unless you are trying to emulate Hunter Thompson and go totally gonzo (and even Thompson did his freaking out in the writing, not the punctuation). If you want to express a question ...



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