1. patchwork
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    patchwork New Member

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    Question marks in complex sentence

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by patchwork, Oct 27, 2010.

    Hello all,

    First post. I was wondering if anybody could help with a particularly tricky sentence, or sentences, that I'm trying to make work.

    The main problem I have is where to put commas, full stops and question marks. I hope you can help.

    The offending sentence:



    “What is the point of being royalty,” the Kings of the neighbouring countries would say, “if you still labour in the soil and muddy yourself?” And they laughed at the King and poured scorn on him and his tiny realm.



    I think it's right but I'm not overly sure and would appreciate any hints.

    Many thanks,

    Chris
     
  2. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, I think that's right.
     
  3. patchwork
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    patchwork New Member

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    Cool! Thank you.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    yes, it is!
     
  5. Quin
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    Quin New Member

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    Looks right to me. I have the joy of trying to teach this to 10 year olds!
     
  6. Noya Desherbanté
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    Noya Desherbanté Senior Member

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    The question mark looks exactly right to me, and I happen to think it's a particularly elegant and well-flowing way to construct a sentence :) however personally I take issue with the capitalisation on 'the Kings of the neighbouring countries'... I always think that 'king' can be a general noun and doesn't need capitalisation, unless you're using it as a title for a specific person, such as 'King Archibald', or your ridiculed King. I don't know, it just looks a little off to me, I'm probably utterly wrong... or it's a matter of personal preference, in which case, I am in no position to find fault :)
     
  7. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    No, you're not wrong. "King" is not a proper noun there, so it should not be capitalised. The capitalisation of "the King" later on is optional (Fowler describes it as becoming increasingly common) but I wouldn't capitalise it.
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    neither should be capitalized... it's only done now for titles that are accompanied by the titled person's name... such as with 'the king was in his counting house' and 'when King Charles was on the throne' or 'the president was in the Oval Office' and 'President Obama took the oath of office'...
     
  9. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's true if you're following, for example, the CMS. On the other hand, the British monarchy is not yet convinced. If you check their official website you will find that "The Queen" is consistently capitalised. And I suppose that makes it queen's English. Or perhaps I should say Queen's English.
     
  10. eden baylee
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    eden baylee Member

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    I agree. I just had a story edited where I had the titles of king, queen, lord, prince, and none of them were capitalized unless accompanied by the name.
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    'The Queen' [of england] may be able to enforce such kowtowing on her own website, but she can't impose such a rule on the entire world, or even just the publishing world, where it's not correct...
     
  12. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    She can at least influence the UK (and who knows, maybe still bits of the Commonwealth), and in UK usage it's still quite decidedly legitimate.
     
  13. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    I doubt the Queen herself has anything to do with the website--it's purely the concern of her press secretary! And it is a very long established convention in publishing (at least in the English-speaking world outside the USA) to refer to the monarch with a capital letter, e.g, 'Gentlemen, a toast--the King!'
     

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