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When is a Question Not a Question?

These lessons, by one of our most consistent FaithWriters' Challenge Champions, should not be missed. So we're making a permanent home for them here.

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oursilverstrands
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When is a Question Not a Question?

Postby oursilverstrands » Wed Sep 14, 2016 3:42 pm

Jan, I sometimes get confused as to whether or not a sentence I've written requires a question mark. The following sounds more like a statement, but is it a question?

"I was wondering if you've been to this place before, because I wanted to know if they have Wi-Fi.


Jan
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I write even when I think I can't, because I must. :-)

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"Let words bewitch you. Scrutinze them, mull them, savor them, and in combination, until you see their subtle differences and the ways they tint each other." Francis Flaherty

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Re: When is a Question Not a Question?

Postby glorybee » Wed Sep 14, 2016 4:43 pm

lish1936 wrote:Jan, I sometimes get confused as to whether or not a sentence I've written requires a question mark. The following sounds more like a statement, but is it a question?

"I was wondering if you've been to this place before, because I wanted to know if they have Wi-Fi.


What a great question! I see this all the time when I'm editing, and it almost always is some construction featuring the word 'wonder.'

Even though there's an uncertainty in the mind of the speaker, this is not a question. Your instincts were right. This is a statement, and you'd put a period at the end.

A possible alternate construction, if you wanted it to be a question:

I was wondering--have you been to this place before? Because I wanted to know if they have wifi.

A question really needs to have one of those words that signals a question ('have,' in the above example, but there are many others: do, is, what...there's quite a list, actually).
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Re: When is a Question Not a Question?

Postby oursilverstrands » Wed Sep 14, 2016 5:26 pm

Jan wrote:A question really needs to have one of those words that signals a question ('have,' in the above example, but there are many others: do, is, what...there's quite a list, actually).


Thanks, Jan, for the answer and the rationale behind it. :D

Lillian
E-Book - Retirement Lane - How to Celebrate Life After 60

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I write even when I think I can't, because I must. :-)

I love to write. Nothing escapes the crush I have on the written word. I'm hooked on words!!

"Let words bewitch you. Scrutinze them, mull them, savor them, and in combination, until you see their subtle differences and the ways they tint each other." Francis Flaherty


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