Question Marks

I know I bitched about this in ru stupid, but it seems to have become far more common in the last 6 months or so.

Some people appear to have decided that it's no longer cool to end an interrogative sentence (that is, a question) with what we commonly refer to as a "question mark."

Just to refresh your memory, they look like this: ?

Sure, I know what you're thinking. "Why does it matter. Isn't readily obvious that someone is asking a question when they begin a sentence with a word such as who, why, what, where, how, when, and so on."

Well, you're wrong on multiple counts. First, you forgot your damned questions marks, you moron! Second, I bet that if you try, you'll find that's it's not difficult to construct a sentence beginning with one of those "question words" that is, in fact, not a question.

How to do that is left as an exercise to the reader. (I used to hate it when pretentious textbooks said that.)

Finally, this becomes a real problem when reading the voluminous amount of test text I read on a daily basis--often e-mail and on-line discussions. Why? Because it completely destroys the scanability of the text. It's common for me to scan messages quickly to see if there are any questions that I must address. If not, I may decide to give it my attention when I'm less busy.

More than a few times I've had someone ask my me why I've been ignoring their questions, only to go back and find not a single question mark in their original message.

Where's the electronic cluestick when you need to beat someone?

Posted by jzawodn at February 11, 2004 11:15 AM | TrackBack (0)