Wednesday 6 May 2009

Questioning and exclaiming

I am so tired of receiving e-mails that are overflowing with question marks.

I think I was born about seventy years too late because I am one of those people who finds bad manners and bad punctuation genuinely upsetting (although that is not to say I am not guilty of both at times, I am of course allowed to be!).

If I receive one more e-mail saying how are you???? Or asking me if I know the location of something (???) or why someone has heard from someone (?????) I am actually going to e-mail back and say that when asking a question in a sentence one question mark is sufficient, unless you are asking something very serious... for example ‘what time are you coming over?’ only needs one question mark, where as the question ‘have you seen the alien space ship over the Thames???’ might justifiably have several question marks after it (although I personally would always say less is more with question marks).

I am constantly being barked out by both clients and people I am client too with very aggressive use of the question mark and I wonder when this started being okay? (?????)

There is also the fact of misuse of question marks. People often put a question mark at the end of what is clearly not a question sentence. For example 'I heard you had good weather?'. I think the misuse gets to me even more and has my inner spinster English teacher in tweeds almost leaping out of my chest, alien style (not that there is anything wrong with her- I might be her eventually so I try and cherish her) to snap a ruler over the author's knuckles and tell them that that is not correct use of the question mark!!! (For some reason over use of exclamation marks doesn't bother me nearly as much!)


Linda said...

Dear Rose,
Oh, this made me laugh - I agree so wholeheartedly. Also, do you find it annoying when people make a statement, but raise their voices at the end, as if it's a question. ("I really like that dress?") The other bit of punctuation which is meaningless is this - ?! I believe it has a special name. Best wishes from a fellow tweed clad blue-stocking,

Rose said...

Dear Linda, I'm so glad you agree- and yes ending sentences with a positive slant upwards is so annoying, especially as it normally sounds like falso positivity.

I didn't know that punctuation had a name, I would love to know what it is.

Am off to put my bed socks and hair net on before drinking a cocoa in true tweed style

Anonymous said...

I believe the ?! is called an interrobang. Isn't that great?

Notice that I resisted the urge to write, "Isn't that great???";>)

(My inner English teacher used to be against emoticons, but now I realize that they are actually valuable for letting people know you're being silly.)

Rose said...

Hi Pitbull friend- and welcome to the blog.

Thank you so much for identifying the interrobang- you're right it's completely great. I adore finding new words.

Yes I sometimes use the little emotion faces too, I'm not against stuff like that- just people who shout at me with their question marks

Fran Hill said...

You have an inner spinster English teacher? I'm your new follower. Even though I swear I've just done the one thing you hate. Have been enjoying reading through your posts.