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    #1

    Punctuation

    1. Are you the person who asked, "Why"?

    2. Are you the person who asked, "Why?"

    3. Are you the person who asked, "Why?"?

    May I know which sentence is correctly punctuated?

    Thanks in advance.

  1. IHIVG's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Punctuation

    Quote Originally Posted by Tan Elaine View Post
    1. Are you the person who asked, "Why"?

    2. Are you the person who asked, "Why?"

    3. Are you the person who asked, "Why?"?

    May I know which sentence is correctly punctuated?

    Thanks in advance.
    Good question.
    I'd use the first example instinctively as the 2nd seems to need an exlamation mark after the quote, and the 3d is redundant.

    Check out this:
    The Question Mark

    (from the link):
    What if I said to you, "You've got a real problem here"? (Notice that the question mark here comes after the quotation mark and there is no period at the end of the statement.)

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Punctuation

    Beg to differ:
    A single question mark will suffice to end a quoted question within a question:

    "Didn't he ask, 'What did we do, who preceded you?'" queried Johnson.

    (also from Quotation Marks)
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  3. IHIVG's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Punctuation

    Differ on what?

    The 'queried Johnson' part makes it a different type of sentence, to which, of course, could be applied different punctuation.

  4. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Punctuation

    Why?
    She asked "Why?"
    Is she the person who asked, "Why?"

    A question within a question - the one ?, per the site we both just searched, said only one is needed and it would be the one inside the quote.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #6

    Re: Punctuation

    Quote Originally Posted by Tan Elaine View Post
    1. Are you the person who asked, "Why"?

    2. Are you the person who asked, "Why?"

    3. Are you the person who asked, "Why?"?

    May I know which sentence is correctly punctuated?

    Thanks in advance.
    I agree with IHIVG. I would use sentence number 1, assuming that you want to use the quotation marks. As Gillnetter points out, you may also write it without the quotation marks, but the meaning is a bit different. I believe you are emphasizing the fact that the person in question actually spoke the word "why."

    The problem has to do with where to place the question mark, inside the quotation mark or outside? Notice that in the sentence above I put the period inside the quotation mark. That is common in this situation.

    However, your sentence includes a complete sentence ("Why?) uttered by someone else. In that case I would put the question mark on the outside.

    These are fine points, however. You could probably get away with either 1. or 2. But perhaps there are others on this forum who have a different understanding of the punctuation rules.

  6. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Punctuation

    Did you read the link I provided? It answers this exact question and says to put the question mark with the quoted question and to let that serve for the entire sentence-as-a-question as well. It's not my rule - I'm just quoting others. It, in turn, cites New York Public Library Writer's Guide to Style and Usage
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #8

    Re: Punctuation

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    Did you read the link I provided? It answers this exact question and says to put the question mark with the quoted question and to let that serve for the entire sentence-as-a-question as well. It's not my rule - I'm just quoting others. It, in turn, cites New York Public Library Writer's Guide to Style and Usage
    Thank you. Having read the page you cite I stand corrected.

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    #9

    Re: Punctuation

    Thanks to all the members who replied to my query.

  8. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: Punctuation

    Just as a personal note, I think all these rules are somewhat arbitrary. It's simply what is use the most often that becomes "the preferred style."

    I've said dozens of time, if it doesn't interfere with your meaning or make it harder for your reader to understand, then whatever you come up with is probably going to be fine. I just dug in my heels a bit because I found a different answer on the very same Web site cited previously. If someone found another source entirely with a conflicting answer, I'd say "Fair enough - different styles."
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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