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  1. #1
    sandrapinkoski's Avatar
    sandrapinkoski is offline Newbie
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    Question Is a question mark needed?

    Hi,

    I've edited a book chapter and the author wanted a question mark put in the sentence below. Does it have to have a question mark or can the period remain?

    Sandra, tell me why you chose health and fitness as a career path
    and to what do you attribute your success.

    It is rather important that I know what to do with this. We are at the blue line phase of publishing the book and the author is screaming bloody blue murder that I don't have a question mark here.

    Thank you for any help you can give me . . .

    Sandra

  2. #2
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Default Re: Is a question mark needed?

    Don't you love authors!

    I agree with you that this is not a question but an instruction, so a question mark would not be correct. Can you persuade your author to change it into a question format?

    "Sandra, can/could you ..."

  3. #3
    sandrapinkoski's Avatar
    sandrapinkoski is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Is a question mark needed?

    Thank you so very much, Anglika! You have saved my reputation!

    Looking at it now, I should have probably suggested that the author reword the sentence.

    We had e-mailed this author his chapter seven times before we finally got a response and then he did what amounted to a re-write! I edited it again and emphasized that he should do a thorough re-read. He faxed us twice with changes and then the last time he wrote to go to print. Now that the blue line has come back and he is finding places he wants to change! At $30 per page I think he's finding out that changes at this stage are prohibitive. He had been warned often about this.

    So, yet another author who will not read the contract! I usually try to remind authors of deadlines and how vitally important it is to read through their work but sometimes I receive their transcripts and they have not even looked at them!

    Oh well.

    Thank you again for your quick reply--I needed to be able to get a reply back to my production manager. We wanted a back-up verification that I was not wrong about this.

    With gratitude, Sandra

  4. #4
    RonBee's Avatar
    RonBee is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Is a question mark needed?

    My two cents.

    Quote Originally Posted by sandrapinkoski View Post
    Sandra, tell me why you chose health and fitness as a career path
    and to what do you attribute your success.
    Try:
    Sandra, tell me why you chose health and fitness as a career path and what you attribute your success to.

    Or (if you insist on making it a question):
    Sandra, why did you choose health and fitness as a career path, and what do you attribute your success to?
    What dio you think?

  5. #5
    sandrapinkoski's Avatar
    sandrapinkoski is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Is a question mark needed?

    Hi Ronbee,

    Either one of your suggestions looks fine to me. I just wish this author had thought to question this sentence before we got to the blue line stage.

    Thank you for your suggestions, however, it will cost him $30 if he wants to pursue changing it. After the plates are made, the printing company charges $30 per page to remake them, which is what will have to be done if this author wants to change the sentence.

    Sheesh!

    This author said he'd had someone else edit his chapter (he is in an anthology we're publishing) and his editor said the sentence should have a question mark. I told him that his editor needs to go back to school!

    This is one of maybe two or three authors I've had to argue with regarding proper mechanicals. And I've been here since May 9, 2005! This indicates that I've got a pretty good record of making our authors happy--for the most part.

    As a side note, I was a staff writer for a newspaper for eight years before coming to work here. While at the newspaper, I was also editor of the religion page and I was the city desk for the paper. I prefer my current job, however.

    I sure wish authors would trust their editors! That's the first thing I said to this author. My production manager was on the phone with him and she handed me the phone to explain my editing decision. The first words out of my mouth were, "Trust your editor, dude!" (I admit, that was kind of ballsy but I had talked with him in the past and we'd had a good relationship. Now--not so much. )

    Thank you for your two cents!

    -------------Sandra

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