# How to punctuate a question containing two sentences

In the following

Does this mean that the wood needs to fit inside of a ten by ten square, and if we go beyond this, we start stacking a new layer of wood? Then at the very end of our calculations, we add 4 inches to each side to account for packaging?

Since this is all one long question, should the first question mark be a question mark, a period, or a semicolon?

• Nothing wrong with the punctuation, but you need to pose the sentences as questions. Does this mean that the wood needs to fit inside of a ten by ten square? And if we go beyond this, (do) we start stacking a new layer of wood? Then at the very end of our calculations, (do) we add 4 inches to each side to account for packaging? – WS2 Jan 3 '18 at 22:33
• The (coordinated) auxiliaries are sometimes dropped in speech, but they are more useful in text (since the '?' doesn't appear until the very end of each sentence). Do use the '?' on each sentence. – AmI Jan 3 '18 at 23:13
• It doesn't seem too clear. I'd use << Does this mean that the wood needs to be fitted inside of a ten by ten square – and that if we go beyond this, we start stacking a new layer of wood? And that at the very end of our calculations, we add 4 inches to each side to account for packaging? >> – Edwin Ashworth Jan 3 '18 at 23:49

## 1 Answer

Does this mean that the wood needs to fit inside of a ten by ten square, and if we go beyond this, we start stacking a new layer of wood? Then at the very end of our calculations, we add 4 inches to each side to account for packaging?

Does this mean that the wood needs to fit inside of a ten by ten square, and if we go beyond this, we start stacking a new layer of wood; then at the very end of our calculations, we add 4 inches to each side to account for packaging?

There is a way to put the entire thought into one complete question. It's long and complicated, but it works.

Since this is all one long question, should the first question mark be a question mark, a period, or a semicolon?

Yes, you're on the right track. A semicolon is what should be used instead of the first question mark. That appears to be the only change needed, to make the thought all one question.