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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Criminal Sentence 190: I Wonder...

From a book I'm reading:

"She wondered fleetingly how many thousands of people heard the same thing from their doctor every day?"

In this sentence, the question mark should be a period. Yes, the statement expresses a questioning thought, but the sentence itself isn't a question. It's the same as if you had a sentence starting "He exclaimed..." You wouldn't put an exclamation point at the end of the sentence. You would put a period.

So when you use the word "wonder," you don't use a question mark unless the whole sentence is a question, as is this:

"What? She wondered outloud about how big his biceps are?"

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

that example sentence doesn't seem right. I, of course, agree with the question after "what" but the rest makes no sense.

cmh_geek said...

Try reading it as someone else questioning the other woman's "wondering."

Anonymous said...

Thanks. It makes sense now.

Aspiring Writer said...

"What? She wondered outloud about how big his biceps are?"


Oh, dear. Did you perhaps mean to type "out loud"? (Oops!)

The Sentence Sleuth said...

Thanks for the correction. I love it when people point out that I'm not perfect! :)