What about…? How about…?

Margie Wakeman Wells The Question Mark Leave a Comment

“What about…?” and “How about…?” are idiomatic expressions that are meant to ask a question. It is true that they are not grammatically complete sentences in that they do not have a verb. However, idioms are unique unto themselves, and these two indicate questions and must stand alone with a question mark. If there is a question after this expression, …

“My Question Is…”

Margie Wakeman Wells The Comma, The Question Mark Leave a Comment

This construction always causes consternation and no end of disagreement. This is my understanding of the way English grammar works. It is never correct to use a single separating comma between the verb and the predicate nominative. Surely no one wants a comma in the following examples. …My name is Margie. …Her response is that she was not home. …My …

Put the Question Mark Where the Question Is First Asked

Margie Wakeman Wells The Question Mark 2 Comments

It seems as if I just addressed this, but I looked back and don’t see it. The only way to consistently punctuate questions is to follow this rule: Put the question mark where the question is first asked; where, if the attorney had just stopped and waited, s/he could have gotten an answer. …What was she wearing? Did you notice? …

The Dash You Hate

Margie Wakeman Wells The Dash 4 Comments

…The key that was hidden on the premises — is it the one you used to get in that night? “The key that was hidden on the premises” is the start of a sentence that never gets finished. Then the person comes back and uses a complete sentence with a reference to “key” with the word “it.” There is nothing …

Put the Interrog Where the Question Is First Asked

Margie Wakeman Wells The Question Mark, Uncategorized Leave a Comment

First, when the situation is that the attorney has asked a question, using question word order and then does not just keep quiet and get his answer but goes on to clarify, restate, et cetera, we have a problem. How do we handle “multiple” questions within the same question?   I would propose that we adopt a rule that uses …

When “What” Is at the End

Margie Wakeman Wells The Question Mark, Uncategorized Leave a Comment

…You were a what? A supervisor? …It was a what? A Toyota? My contention is that these questions are just turned around from what they should be. Instead of “What were you?” and “What was it?” the order is reversed. It is just bad grammar (to which we apply good punctuation). Whenever the question comes up, there is a tendency …