0

How would I correctly punctuate the following:

Did you ever say, "Isn't that a cute puppy."

It's a question, evidenced by "Did you", but "isn't that a cute puppy" is not a question even though it is at the end of a question.

  • 1
    Why isn't it a question? – Mick Oct 2 '16 at 20:03
  • Punctuation is treated prescriptively by some, though not all prescriptivists have the same rules. I've read somewhere that 'British English [whatever that is] allows [whatever that means] double punctuation where necessary to show intended meaning.' I'd use 'Did you ever say, "Isn't that a cute puppy."?' or 'Did you ever say, "Isn't that a cute puppy?"?' for the question variant (which is allowable). – Edwin Ashworth Oct 2 '16 at 20:07
  • It allows it, but it is horrifically clunky. Generally you'd expect to see a single question mark, inside the quotes. – Rory Alsop Oct 3 '16 at 8:20
1

You have two question here:

  • "Did you ever say" is a question which introduces a citation in quotes,
  • "Isn't that a cute puppy" is another question.

There all have interrogative words: "Did", "Isn't".

There is a difference with affirmative questions like "So you’re Harry’s cousin?". Without the question mark, it is an affirmation, not a question.

Strictly speaking, this two questions require a question mark. So you should add two question marks. But the usage is to omit the one in the citation:

Did you ever say: "Isn't that a cute puppy"?

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.