1. Francis de Aguilar

    Francis de Aguilar Contributor Contributor

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    ? or not

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Francis de Aguilar, Dec 12, 2017.

    “So what about breakfast then?” He asked grinning now, pleased at scaring the bird away.

    Tony sighed. “Yeah, why not. Let's park in town somewhere, away from these fucking flying terrorists then.”

    The "Yeah, why not. " is not really a question, but it is, so should it have a ?, ?
     
  2. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

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    Yeah, rhetorical questions are usually ended with a question mark because technically it's still a question, and leave it up to context for people to figure out it's rhetorical. You can use regular punctuation, but it's far less common and usually only happens when you replace the question mark with an exclamation point. Though the exclamation point is still somewhat less popular than the interrobang (!?, ?!, ?!?!, ‽).
     
  3. SethLoki

    SethLoki Retired Autodidact Contributor

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    I'd be minded not to in your particular sentence. A question mark would have me pause and overthink the answer. But what do I know.
     
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  4. JLT

    JLT Contributor Contributor

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    I'd go with the question mark ... it seems more natural to me. Or you could recast the sentence as follows:

    “Yeah, why not," Tony sighed. "Let's park in town somewhere, away from these fucking flying terrorists then.”
     
  5. Kerbouchard

    Kerbouchard Member

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    I've seen this example used as a stylistic preference, too. I never leave off the question mark for rhetorical questions for the same reasons stated above, but I have seen it left out.
     
  6. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    Honestly it could be either a statement or a question.
    While it could be seen directly by use of 'why', to infer that it is a question.
    Though as a statement, it gives more of a clue as to what the other character
    feels about the previous suggestion. Do they see it as something not all that
    interesting, and choose to impart it's mundaness to a statement uttered to
    simply agree. Or find the conversation more engaging to actually use it
    in a proper questioning inflection.

    Funny how a simple (? or .) can change how something is perceived, and
    what it really says about the character without actually saying anything else.
    Just depends on what fits best for that particular characters persona.

    (Side note: its moments like this that make you realize English makes no sense.)
     
  7. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    I think that if you leave off the ? you're making a more emphatic point about his tone of voice than if you leave it there.

    By the way, the "he" shouldn't be capitalized:

    “So what about breakfast then?” he asked, grinning now, pleased at scaring the bird away.
     
  8. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    See this is a confusing rule too.
    It comes after the dialogue ends, and there is not a comma
    to bridge it, just a period. So then why since the presents of
    the quotation mark override the fact that there is no bridging
    to the following sentence? It has no logic to make it all
    be one congruent sentence with the way the dialogue is written
    and clearly ends, and the narration begins with no clear transition
    to have it flow together in such a way.

    IE:
    "They went out." he said to Paige. (clearly no bridging of the two statements)
    "They went out," he said to Paige. (This I am told is the correct way to bridge dialogue and narration)

    So is there some fancy grammar rule that allows for this combining of the two, since there is no
    clear indication that they are in fact meant to be linked together? Or have things taken a major
    turn, and it just hasn't caught on yet? Cause to me in my example, the first looks odd, and feels
    just as strange. I ain't no grammar grad, but something seems fishy about it. o_O
     
  9. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I use a question mark if it truly is a rhetorical question, but sometimes rhetorical questions are not questions but rather statements. So it depends on the intended sentiment.
     
  10. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    A tag following a line of dialogue is not capitalized. Also, if the line of dialogue would normally end with a period, it instead ends with a comma. If it would end with something else--question, exclamation, whatever--that something else is left alone. By "a tag" I mean either 'said' or something that could be directly substituted for 'said'.

    A beat following a line of dialogue is capitalized. A beat is an action that cannot be directly substituted for 'said'.

    So, dialogue with tags:

    "No," Joe said.
    "No," said Joe. (Please take this to mean that every other example could be flipped from "Person said" to "said Person", because nobody wants to watch me flip every example.)
    "What?" asked Joe.
    "Run!" shouted Joe.
    "I can hear something moving in that suitcase," Joe whispered.


    Dialogue with beats.

    "No." Joe shook his head.
    "What?" Putting on his hat, Joe peered at the child.
    "Run!" Joe waved his arms frantically.
    "I can hear something moving in that suitcase." Joe raised his eyebrows.
     
  11. Oxymaroon

    Oxymaroon Contributor Contributor

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    What he said ^^^ except I missed it while typing.

    Try saying the speech aloud. Usually, people make "Why not" sound like a question. If you want to reproduce natural speech with punctuation as auditory cues, you need the question mark.
    What you probably don't need there is "He asked"
    Why not go right on to: "He grinned, pleased at scaring the birds away." ?
    Punctuation in dialogue is always a bit tricky. If it's too hard to remember all the rules, it's relatively easy to remember the reason for rules: to help the reader hear your thoughts.
    The second version is correct, because it makes a single complete sentence. The first one is a complete sentence, followed by a fragment. If you need the period to make the statement definite, leave off the he said. Clearly, "They went out." was a response to previous discussion, so you don't really need to tell the reader who said it to whom.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2017
  12. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    @ChickenFreak so from what I gather it is a style choice, and is
    considered correct either way. Just had to ask, cause it is not a
    common thing I have seen in books (actually non so far).
    I can accept that it is a preference, but it will take a while to
    get use to seeing in the future.
     
  13. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    No, it's definitely not a style choice, and it's definitely not considered correct either way. Tags have one rule, beats have another. I'm not sure where I was unclear?
     
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  14. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    Not about tags, the transition between the two.
    Turns out that it is a thing (." blah), just not one
    I have ever come across. So having said that,
    and that it is actually acceptable to write dialogue
    trams. narration that way.

    Suppose it just looks lazy and sloppy to me.
    https://www.thebalance.com/punctuating-dialogue-properly-in-fiction-writing-1277721
    Proof that I have to agree, despite what I think.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2017
  15. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

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    Just to check I grabbed the nearest book to me which was Ready Player One and as far as I could tell, the dialogue seemed to follow the rules @ChickenFreak laid out earlier. The only author I can think off hand that doesn't follow these rules is Cormac McCarthy and that's because he doesn't use dialogue punctuation at all.
     
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  16. Kerbouchard

    Kerbouchard Member

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    @The Dapper Hooligan Any mention of Cormac McCarthy deserves a like.
     
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  17. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Are you saying that the choice between using tags and using beats is a style choice? Yes, I'll agree with you there.
     
  18. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    Yes, and the punctuation choices are as well. Sometimes it is hard
    to grasp all the rules of proper punctuation when it comes down
    to it. :)
     
  19. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Well, the correct punctuation for dialogue is pretty much set in stone--it's not really a style choice.
     
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  20. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    I know, but it is a choice to incorporate the ones you are most comfortable using.
     
  21. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    I no longer know what we're talking about.
     
  22. Francis de Aguilar

    Francis de Aguilar Contributor Contributor

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    Haha
     
  23. Francis de Aguilar

    Francis de Aguilar Contributor Contributor

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    @ChickenFreak is right, usually is. I had lost track of this thread. I need to review the passage in the light of the many comments. I had gone with the ? But I may reconsider.

    Thanks everyone.

    Oh, and just to say the capital 'h' is wrong and was an oversight on my part, not any kind of style choice.
     

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