The rhetorical question ...again!

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Rex

Senior Member
AUSTRALIA: English
Dear friends in the forum
A couple of weeks ago you kindly assisted me on this subject, and I would be grateful for some further help. Here is the intended sentence:
Or has Peter merely "turn[ed] round and see[n] Clarissa's looming figure framed in the doorway" [Holmesland 77], supporting his conclusiom that "the final words . . . bring nothing new"? [78].

There are two questions: firstly, is the question mark in the right place, or should it by placed e.g. after 'doorway'? Secondly, the conclusion is that of Homesland, not Peter. Is this suffiiciently clear? Or should I, for instance, move the bracket after 77 e.g. to after the word 'that', which, however, might look rather clumsy?
 
  • ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Hello Rex.
    (1) I'd keep the question mark at the end of the sentence.
    (2) I don't understand what [Holmesland 77] actually means. Perhaps you could explain that for your duller readers.
     

    Mrar

    New Member
    English - USA
    Ewie, [Homesland 77] is a reference. It refers to the author of the reference text (Homesland) and the page number (77).

    Rex, the question mark should be at the end of the sentence, but it should be inside of the quotation marks. Whenever a question ends with a quote, whether the quote itself is a question or the entire sentence containing the quote is a question, the form is this: Subject verb "quote?"

    Also, it is hard to follow whether "his conclusion" refers to Peter or Holmesland. However, putting "supporting his conclusion" in the bracket would not be correct. Only information for finding the quote should be in that reference section. I suggest replacing "his" with "Holmesland's" which is an easy way to make it clearer.
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Rex, the question mark should be at the end of the sentence, but it should be inside of the quotation marks. Whenever a question ends with a quote, whether the quote itself is a question or the entire sentence containing the quote is a question, the form is this: Subject verb "quote?"
    Unless I'm sadly mistaken -- always a possibility -- I think you'll find this "rule" is definitely wrong. In this case, the question mark should definitely be outside the quotation marks.

    But I'm here to learn as well as speak.

    Edit: Oh, never mind, I'm right. :)

    From The Chicago Manual of Style, 14th Edition, reference 5.28:
    The question mark should be placed inside the quotations marks, parentheses, or brackets only when it is part of the quoted or parenthetical matter.
    The ambassador asked, "Then why, sir, are these maneuvers occurring so close to our border?"
    Why was Farragut trembling when he said, "I'm here to open an inquiry"?
     
    Last edited:

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I agree with Copyright, but there are different views on this question, supported by different style manuals.

    Please do not continue this conversation here, because it has happened many times before.
    You are welcome to add to any of the relevant threads listed in the link given at the top of this forum:

    Punctuation rules in English
    Punctuation quotation - Where to place punctuation marks when using quotation marks.

    To avoid temptation, this thread is closed.
    ... subsequently un-closed on request.
     
    Last edited:

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    At the risk of incurring the Wrath of the Mighty Ape:eek:, I shall answer the question I didn't answer earlier. I would just add one word to your sentence, which I believe would do the trick:
    Or has Peter merely "turn[ed] round and see[n] Clarissa's looming figure framed in the doorway" [Holmesland 77], supporting his conclusion that "the final words . . . bring nothing new"? [ibid. 78].
    Ibid. = ibidem = quoted from the same place as the last quote.
     

    languageGuy

    Senior Member
    USA and English
    Can they use the Chicago Manual of Style in Australia? :) There are many different style manuals, as the wise PJD suggests. Check with the one used by your publisher.

    I am hesistant, but will suggest that the question mark belongs after the reference, where the period is. There is no need for two terminal punctuation marks. ...nothing new"[78]? But, again, check with your manual.
     
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