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  1. #1
    Ducklet Cat's Avatar
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    Default Punctuating with a question mark or a comma?

    I ran into two sentences while writing something, and I'm not sure about the punctuation.


    What about Tom? Can we invite him?
    What about Tom, Can we invite him?


    Why are you eating the pastry, I mean the pasta?
    Why are you eating the pastry? I mean the pasta?

  2. #2
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Default Re: Punctuating with a question mark or a comma?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ducklet Cat View Post
    I ran into two sentences while writing something, and I'm not sure about the punctuation.


    What about Tom? Can we invite him?
    What about Tom, Can we invite him?


    Why are you eating the pastry, I mean the pasta?
    Why are you eating the pastry? I mean the pasta?

    With the first example, I would make it two questions: "What about Tom? Can we invite him?"

    With the second example, I would use an ellipsis because it sounds as if the speaker says something and then quickly realises their mistake and corrects it: "Why are you eating the pastry ... I mean the pasta?"
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  3. #3
    Jackie in Erie is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Punctuating with a question mark or a comma?

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    With the first example, I would make it two questions: "What about Tom? Can we invite him?"

    With the second example, I would use an ellipsis because it sounds as if the speaker says something and then quickly realises their mistake and corrects it: "Why are you eating the pastry ... I mean the pasta?"
    Agreed. Both examples express two complete and independent thoughts. Therefore, separating the thoughts into two questions--as in the "Tom" response above--is a good solution. The the suggested solution to the second example (regarding pastry and pasta) separates two complete thoughts with an elipse, which is a valid solution as well. "Why are you eating the pastry--I mean pasta?"

  4. #4
    Ducklet Cat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Punctuating with a question mark or a comma?

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    With the first example, I would make it two questions: "What about Tom? Can we invite him?"

    With the second example, I would use an ellipsis because it sounds as if the speaker says something and then quickly realises their mistake and corrects it: "Why are you eating the pastry ... I mean the pasta?"
    Great, thanks.
    But I'm still insisting about the first one. What if I don't want to change the wording, what will be the best way to punctuate it?
    Another example is:
    Should I email to you? Or should I give it to you by hand?
    Should I email to you, Or should I give it to you by hand?


    Quote Originally Posted by Jackie in Erie View Post
    Agreed. Both examples express two complete and independent thoughts. Therefore, separating the thoughts into two questions--as in the "Tom" response above--is a good solution. The the suggested solution to the second example (regarding pastry and pasta) separates two complete thoughts with an elipse, which is a valid solution as well. "Why are you eating the pastry--I mean pasta?"
    Thanks. What is a elipse? never hear d of it as a punctuation mark.
    Is there anything I can read to learn more about its uses?

  5. #5
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Default Re: Punctuating with a question mark or a comma?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ducklet Cat View Post
    Great, thanks.
    But I'm still insisting about the first one. What if I don't want to change the wording, what will be the best way to punctuate it?
    Another example is:
    Should I email to you? Or should I give it to you by hand?
    Should I email to you, Or should I give it to you by hand?
    I didn't change the wording of the first one. You asked which one was best and I said that "What about Tom? Can we invite him?" was the better choice of the two.

    With your example above, neither of them is correct. Firstly, you need to say "Should I email it to you ...?" However, your punctuation is incorrect in both. The best way to say this is:

    Should I email it to you or give it to you by hand?

    You don't need a comma and you don't need to repeat "should I".
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  6. #6
    Ducklet Cat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Punctuating with a question mark or a comma?

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    I didn't change the wording of the first one. You asked which one was best and I said that "What about Tom? Can we invite him?" was the better choice of the two.

    With your example above, neither of them is correct. Firstly, you need to say "Should I email it to you ...?" However, your punctuation is incorrect in both. The best way to say this is:

    Should I email it to you or give it to you by hand?

    You don't need a comma and you don't need to repeat "should I".
    Thanks. Things are clear now. : )
    Sorry, I mis-read your comment about the Tom sentence. My apologies.

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