Do I always need a capital letter after an exclamation mark or a question mark?

I'm bilingual with french, and, especially in older works, I've often stumbled upon exclamation marks or question marks that don't end a sentence, but merely serve to accentuate a specific part of a sentence. Sometimes they replace a comma, sometimes not.

Is this kind of stuff legal in the english language or not? I haven't seen it in english texts so far, but I have no reason to believe it would only exist in french and not in english.

EDIT: Here are some examples (in french) that Wikipedia provides:

« Ah ! non ! c'est un peu court, jeune homme ! On pouvait dire… Oh ! Dieu !… bien des choses en somme… »

  — Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac (I, 4)

« C'est la femme d'un autre ! ô jalousie affreuse ! »

  — Victor Hugo, Ruy Blas (II, 3)

  • Perhaps provide a few of those passages you "stumbled upon".
    – GEdgar
    Dec 26 '19 at 17:15
  • Does this answer your question? Using a question mark mid-sentence
    – Robin
    Dec 26 '19 at 17:29
  • Certainly if a quotation ending in an exclamation is mid-sentence it should not (absent other reasons) be followed by a capitalized word.
    – Hot Licks
    Dec 26 '19 at 17:31

In English punctuation rules as we teach children in grammar primers, an exclamation mark definitely requires a capital letter after it (unless there is something in between, such as an ellipsis or quotation mark). Generally, it is used to replace a period. We use it at the end of a sentence, even if it's not the most logical place: "Dang, that is completely amazing!"

Note that the following examples are fine (one taken from http://theeditorsblog.net/2010/12/08/punctuation-in-dialogue/ ):

"He loved you!" she said, pointing a finger at Sally.

They all held their breath, waiting...bang!...and it was over.

Those same books might tell you not to end a sentence with a preposition. In those books' version of English punctuation, dashes simply do not exist. In short, outside the classroom there can be greater flexibility. I would not blink if a literary work used an exclamation mark mid-sentence without capitalization afterward.

How then am I mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily, how calmly I can tell you the whole story.

-"The Tell-Tale Heart", Edgar Allen Poe

  • Ah, right. Thanks alot!
    – Inobulles
    Dec 26 '19 at 17:51

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