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    #1

    Punctuation - Commas

    Sentence: "Are you two awake?" came their father's voice.
    why we do not place comma after the question mark?

  1. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Punctuation - Commas

    Say:

    Why do we not place a comma after the question mark?

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Punctuation - Commas

    When the quoted words end with a exclamation mark or question mark, don't use a comma.

    "I see you're home," he said.
    "Are you home?" he asked.
    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. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Punctuation - Commas

    Yes, but the OP wants to know why.
    Last edited by Rover_KE; 28-Jan-2016 at 09:22. Reason: Deleting unnecessary quote.

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    #5

    Re: Punctuation - Commas

    It's the standard convention. It's not necessary for making the sentence understandable.

    Here's a longer answer from another forum (Stackexchange). The first paragraph answers your question, but the rest is worth reading.

    Question (From an English faculty member): I have trouble with question marks when question are embedded in a longer sentence:
    Her question, "Would you like a copy of the memo?" took him by surprise.
    I feel the need of another comma at the end of the question to match the one after question, but "?," seems odd. Must one rewrite to avoid the embedding? Or what?

    Answer:
    Your punctuation of the embedded sentence is technically correct (Chicago Manual 5.5, "When two different marks of punctuation are called for at the same location in a sentence, the stronger mark only is retained."), which, I suspect, is small comfort. Writers who feel the need of a comma are seldom distracted by prescriptive grammatical rules.
    I recommend grammatical psychoanalysis. This, of course, may take decades, but let's start with the core questions: Why do you feel the need for a comma? Do you have any reason to believe that your felt need will be shared by your projected readership?
    If you want the comma merely because you believe appositives have a divine right to be bracketed off, you can probably be persuaded to accept the Chicago rule. A question mark, after all, provides enough of a pause. Appositives will simply have to live with punctuation downsizing.
    If, on the other hand, you think that your projected readership is likely to be distracted by the morass of punctuation and miss what you're trying to say, you have a different problem. If you want to retain your wording, the first remedy would be to b racket off the appositive with M-dashes. This will solve your punctuation problem but may affect your meaning by deemphasizing the quotation.
    If you're unhappy with this deemphasis, you might want to examine whether the quotation had the proper emphasis in the first place. It's buried in the middle of a main clause--and it's out of chronological order in the implied scenario. You may indeed want to rewrite the sentence, but your motive ought to be refining emphasis and meaning--not fixing punctuation.
    Last edited by Rover_KE; 28-Jan-2016 at 09:40.

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    #6

    Re: Punctuation - Commas

    I always find it interesting when somebody is more obsessive-compulsive than I am.

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    #7

    Re: Punctuation - Commas

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Hello, Fatoumac:

    I believe that a comma would be used by some American writers in a sentence such as this:

    After Mother asked, "Are you two awake?," we both pretended to still be sleeping.

    Here is an example that I copied from the New Yorker, a very sophisticated magazine known for its attention to "good" English:

    In a recent article titled "What Do Banks do?," which appeared in [another magazine, he defended the banks' executives]. (NOTE: I foolishly did not copy the whole sentence, so the words inside the brackets are only my idea -- in order to give you the idea.)


    As you can see, "After Mother asked 'Are you two awake?' " is an introductory adverbial clause. So you need a comma (pause in speaking).
    "Which appeared in another magazine" is a non-defining clause that needs commas in front and at the end.

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    #8

    Re: Punctuation - Commas

    The sentence could easily be rearranged.

    We both pretended to still be sleeping after Mother asked, "Are you two awake?"

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