0

I'm writing a response for my business english class. The question is always why are we taking this class. I want to say/suggest that a better question to ask is why do you think this class is required for your degree. Word thinks it should end it a question mark because the word why is in it. Is this a grammatically correct sentence or is there a better way to word it:

Why do you think this class is important for your degree would be a better question to ask students.

OR

I would suggest that a better question to ask would be why we think this class is important for our degree.

1

The Chicago Manual of Style (17th ed.), 6.69, has something to say about this.

In particular, note the first sentence and the first example sentence.

A question mark is used to mark the end of a direct but unquoted question within a sentence. This usage is no different from that of a directly quoted question . . .

      Is it worth the risk? he wondered.

An indirect question never takes a question mark.

      He wondered whether it was worth the risk.
      How the two could be reconciled was the question on everyone’s mind.

When a question within a sentence consists of a single word, such as who, when, how, or why, a question mark may be omitted, and the word is sometimes italicized.

      She asked herself why.
      The question was no longer how but when.

A polite request disguised as a question does not always require a question mark. Such formulations can usually be reduced to the imperative.

      Will the audience please rise.
      Would you kindly respond by March 1.


Of course, style choices are just guidelines. There isn't necessarily a "right" or "wrong" way to do something, especially when it's not completely clear cut.

But based on Chicago, I'd say that the following is fine:

Why do you think this class is important for your degree? would be a better question to ask students.

I also think that your second example sentence, even if it doesn't completely following these guidelines (and I actually suspect it does), it follows enough in the spirit of them that nobody would object to the lack of a question mark.

0

In

  1. I want to say/suggest that a better question to ask is why do you think this class is required for your degree

I would suggest to use a colon to introduce the new question with a question mark because it uses direct address:

I want to say/suggest that a better question to ask is: why do you think this class is required for your degree?

For:

  1. Why do you think this class is important for your degree would be a better question to ask students.

I think it's better to introduce quotation marks:

"Why do you think this class is important for your degree?" would be a better question to ask students.

Whereas in:

  1. I would suggest that a better question to ask would be why we think this class is important for our degree.

It's more of a general statement so it's fine to exclude the question mark.

Anyhow, options (2) and (3) are definitely worded better than (1). Whatever you choose is fine and whether you not follow my suggestions for (2) and (3) is up to you.

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.