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Can a dash work after a question mark? Meaning is this sentence correct and if not how would you rewrite it?

I am wondering if you know any publications, blogs or websites who are seeking new writers right now? — particularly those interested in tech or the cloud, big data, mobile applications, info graphics, etc.?

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Could you? Sure. But no, you shouldn't. Separate the sentences or move the clarification within.

I am wondering if you know any publications, blogs or websites -- particularly those interested in tech or the cloud, big data, mobile applications, info graphics, etc. -- who are seeking new writers right now?

or

I am wondering if you know any publications, blogs or websites who are seeking new writers right now? I'm particularly looking for those interested in tech or the cloud, big data, mobile applications, info graphics, etc.

Dashes are meant for interruptions or changes in thought, including statements of clarification. Having one after the question has already ended is like interrupting a break. For more on em-dash, see here.

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    I agree, in modern usage. A hundred or a hundred fifty years ago, what the OP suggests was a much more common usage.
    – chapka
    Apr 9, 2014 at 17:52
  • @chapka Thanks, I did not know that. I still see it occasionally in some prose and vaguely remember seeing it on a news site just this week, but it always seems odd.
    – emsoff
    Apr 9, 2014 at 17:56
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    I sometimes wish this sort of double punctuation was more acceptable. How many of the following books have you read?: ... Apr 9, 2014 at 17:59
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    This usage is a little old fashioned, but I actually like it. Question and exclamation marks needn't end a sentence. Apr 9, 2014 at 20:15
  • Have you any sort of authority to back up the proscription? SimpleWriting.org (admittedly not a style guide I'm familiar with) licenses this usage. Have you a reference that definitively disallows it? Answers on ELU should be backed by supporting references (attributed and linked quotes) or they come over as mere opinion. May 16, 2021 at 16:04
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There is nothing wrong — informally at least — with using a dash after a question. The dash is a great way to indicate an abrupt change of thought or a parenthetical statement, and sometimes this may be useful after a question is complete.

In your example sentence, the question is really only complete at the very end, so the first question mark is not necessary at all:

I am wondering if you know any publications, blogs or websites who are seeking new writers right now — particularly those interested in tech or the cloud, big data, mobile applications, info graphics, etc.?

Note that "I am wondering" is actually a statement, so what you have here is informal use of the question mark anyway. That is, it is used to indicate rising inflection as per reported speech, rather than an actual question.

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In addition to previous answers, this could be of some help.

Use an em dash with an exclamation point or question mark, but not with a comma, a colon, or a semi-colon (and only rarely with a period).

If only I could have saved him—if only!—he’d still be alive.

I wasn’t sure if I could—did I dare?—but if I didn’t try, I’d never know.

Source: https://simplewriting.org/em-dash-and-how-to-use-it-correctly/

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  • Hello, Maadhav. ELU values answers linked to articles etc that add support, so thanks for this. May 16, 2021 at 16:06
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Whether it is acceptable could depend on the type of publication, is it technical? - or historical? - or maybe, ye olde english prose?


As you can see, you can have dashes after question marks, though the sentences can also be easily rearranged to avoid this construct. Personally I feel its uncommon, and not suitable except in a few cases (e.g., above I am basically paraphrasing a bullet list in sentence form) - but you can make it work :)

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