Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Question Mark

(This post comes from Susan Titus Osborn.)

Use the question mark to ask a direct question, to indicate an editorial doubt, and to express surprise. Never double punctuate. Don't use two question marks together or a question mark and an exclamation point.

* When will Taylor's car be ready?

* The world population is estimated to be 7.029 billion? by the United States Census Bureau. That is your answer?

Use a question mark within a sentence at the end of a direct question. If the question doesn't begin the sentence, the phrase that follows doesn't need to start with a capital letter.

* The question, how long is this meeting going to last? was on everyone's mind.

An indirect question never takes a question mark.

* He wondered if he should go home.

When a question within a sentence consists of a single word, such as who, when, how, or why, omit the question mark. Sometimes writers italicize the word.

* The question was no longer how but when.

A request disguised as a question doesn't require a question mark.

* Will the congregation please rise.

Susan Titus Osborn is the director of the Christian Communicator Manuscript Critique Service. She has authored 30 books. You can reach her at susanosb@aol.com, http://www.Christiancommunicator.com/.

A note from Twila: Cec and I have a contract with Regal Books for I Believe in Heaven, which is scheduled for a spring 2013 release. We need the following types of stories:

1. First-person accounts of someone who died, went to heaven, and returned. (E.g., Don Piper or the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:1-10.)

2. First-person, near-death stories (such as those who felt they saw themselves above the operating table during surgery, went through a tunnel and into bright light before being whisked back to their bodies).

3. Third-person stories of those who have been at the bedside of a dying person who saw angels or Jesus coming to take them to heaven. 

Visit www.ibelieveinheaven.blogspot.com for submission guidelines and details. 

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