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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Criminal Sentence 641: What Is a Correct Question Mark?

A headline about Pope Francis:

New pope revives question: What is a "Latino?"

Perhaps it's true that someone of Italian heritage is not a Latino, but it is definitely true that this question mark is in the wrong place. It should be at the end:

What is a "Latino"? 

If the item in quotation marks is a question, the question mark goes inside; otherwise, outside.

Here are two correct examples:

She asked, "What is your name?" ("What is your name" is a question, so the question mark goes inside.)

What is the meaning of "doofus"? ("Doofus" is not a question; the question is the entire sentence, so the question mark goes outside.)


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