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  • Correct Punctuation?
    by Nikkip at 09:38 on 12 April 2007
    What's the correct way of punctuating this sentence?

    And why would I want to do that, I hear you ask

    Where does the question mark go? On the end?

    Tanks
    Nikki
  • Re: Correct Punctuation?
    by EmmaD at 09:47 on 12 April 2007
    Much to my surprise, I've had that kind of sentence copy-edited to no question mark, I assume because the whole sentence isn't a question even though some of it is.

    It's the same principle as:

    What on earth should I be doing now, I wondered.

    which doesn't have one either. Yes, I think it's odd too, but the alternatives - in your example after 'now' or 'ask' - are odder, I guess.

    Emma
  • Re: Correct Punctuation?
    by Luisa at 10:09 on 12 April 2007
    I would either leave out the question mark or put it after 'ask', because there could be an intonation rise there. It depends how much you want 'I hear you ask?' to sound like a question.

    I think 'I wondered' is different because it's definitely declarative. 'I hear you ask' could be declarative or interrogative depending on the effect you're going for. In my humble opinion...

    Luisa

  • Re: Correct Punctuation?
    by EmmaD at 10:16 on 12 April 2007
    'I hear you ask' could be declarative or interrogative


    Yes, that's true. I hadn't thought of the interrogative reading of it.

    Emma
  • Re: Correct Punctuation?
    by debac at 10:28 on 12 April 2007
    I always believed you should (in Nikki's example) put the question mark at the end of the whole sentence, because part of it is a question. But perhaps that's wrong?

    Deb
  • Re: Correct Punctuation?
    by Lammi at 10:30 on 12 April 2007
    I'd go for no question mark at all, myself.
  • Re: Correct Punctuation?
    by Account Closed at 11:20 on 12 April 2007
    I've seen writers punctuate like this before:

    And why would I want to do that? - I hear you ask.

    but Lord knows if the question mark/dash combo would be correct here.

  • Re: Correct Punctuation?
    by EmmaD at 11:22 on 12 April 2007
    I'm not sure it's correct, but it makes a lot of sense. One of my options (again, not sure if it's correct, but it's very clear) is to use italics for any speech that's remembered or imagined:

    And why would I want to do that? I hear you ask.

    Emma

    <Added>

    And Luisa, I'm interested that you're partly going on the inflection, rather than the grammar. When my punctuation gets picked up by a copy editor it's nearly always because I've punctuated for how it would read, rather than what's correct. Maybe it's partly because - like Nikki's example - I'm almost always writing in someone's voice, and hearing it as I write.
  • Re: Correct Punctuation?
    by Luisa at 11:57 on 12 April 2007
    Good point, Emma, and I've course I'm biasing this towards the way I write, which is always very strongly in someone's voice. (Like Nikki too, I'm pretty sure.) I'm going to get copy-edited to bits soon.

    Of course, Nikki asked for 'the correct way', not for my descriptive opinion. Sorry, Nikki!
  • Re: Correct Punctuation?
    by Dee at 18:09 on 12 April 2007
    I agree with Kate no question mark at all, because its not a direct question.

    Could you perhaps rewrite it? Something like: You might wonder why I would want to do that which removes the dilemma.

    Dee
  • Re: Correct Punctuation?
    by Nikkip at 08:46 on 14 April 2007
    Thanks everyone - I think I'll rewrite it.

    Nikki
  • Re: Correct Punctuation?
    by dannymounton at 11:55 on 25 January 2022
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    Edited by dannymounton at 11:56:00 on 25 January 2022
    Edited by dannymounton at 11:56:00 on 25 January 2022