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Thread: Excuse me (?/!)

  1. Unregistered

    Post Excuse me (?/!)

    Would somebody be so kind as to clarify for me whether or not 'excuse me' merits a question mark?

    I've seen 'Excuse me?' ...and... 'Excuse me!'.

    Many thanks in advance to whoever replies.

  2. rewboss's Avatar

    • Join Date: Feb 2006
    • Posts: 1,552

    Re: Excuse me (?/!)

    Usually, a question mark indicates that the speaker is not actually asking for forgiveness, but is indicating disbelief or offended sensibilities; the phrase is usually spoken with rising intonation. With an exclamation mark, it's usually asking forgiveness for something that has been done, or a polite way to attract attention, and is spoken with falling intonation.

    "Well, I think you're a bare-faced liar!"
    "Excuse me? Did you just call me a liar?"

    "Hey! Get out of here!"
    "Oh, excuse me! I didn't realise you were in there."

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