Hello, dearies! My apologies for the screaming yellow headphones; where fashion dictates, necessity overrules. Your Style Maven spent most of the weekend in coffee shops, surrounded by giggling teens and twentysomethings.
It’s not the volume, it’s the inflection. I was bombarded by monologues composed entirely of questions.
“So, I went out with John? And he took me to that new restaurant? And the waiter had, like, this weird eyebrow thing going on? So the whole time we were eating, I was wondering if it would fall in my dinner? You know?”
Yes, lovey, we know. Do you?
Too many question marks, whether written or implied by inflection, can be distracting and confusing. Let us consult the CMOS for guidance, okay?
Used to indicate a direct question, the question mark can also express surprise or editorial doubt. Are you sure you want to wear that? When a direct question appears within another sentence, it is also set off with a question mark. When did sleeves that actually cover the upper arm go out of fashion? she wondered.
An indirect question, according to the CMOS, never takes a question mark. He wondered which sweatshirt bore the least offensive slogan. In the case of single-word questions such as who or how, you have the option of dropping the question mark and using italics. She stared at his shirt and asked herself why. When dealing with a veiled request, you can skip the formalities and go straight for the imperative. Please tell me you’re not going to wear that.
Concerning quotations, the CMOS states, “A question mark should be placed inside quotation marks, parentheses, or brackets only when it is part of the quoted or parenthetical matter.” He asked in innocence, “What’s wrong with it?”
Heavens, I must dash. The activities director has just asked a question. “Mama wants to play Itsy-Bitsy Spider?” Of course I do, sweetie. Have a lovely week, everyone!
Photos courtesy of stock.xchng
The Style Maven recently abandoned her loft apartment for an 18th-century farmhouse in the Midwest. She uses pages from the slush pile to stuff cracks in the baseboards, and is now accepting applications for the position of Head Barn Cat.