SHARON’S BLOG

question marks and exclamation pointsWelcome to yet another week of biting, incisive grammar questions like this one: “Mom, is this sentence supposed to have one question mark or two at the end?”

If you’re dying to know what the other grammar tutorials are about, click here for one on punctuation in dialog. (Tarzan and Jane help out on that one.) Click here if you yearn to know how to handle commas in compound sentences with coordinating conjunctions. And click here for the hard-hitting exposé on where to put the comma, period, colon, or semicolon when using quotation marks.

This week, your students will wrestle with the thorny problem of what to do if a sentence is a question (interrogative) but there’s already a question mark to the left of the end quotation mark.

Take a look at the infographic, which is the lesson. Then give your students the questions to reinforce the material. Feel free to copy and paste the questions onto a document so your students can follow the directions. The answers follow the questions. To get a PDF file of the infographic, click here.

Yes, these are thorny questions: Does the question mark go inside or outside the quotation mark? And what if there's already a question mark?

Exercise for question marks and exclamation points with quotation marks

Directions: Place the question marks and exclamation points correctly in the following sentences. To download the exercise in a PDF, click here.

1. Have you ever read Frank Stockton’s short story “The Lady or the Tiger   ”

2. Did you know that during the Civil War, the government censored the song “Lorena   ”

3. I was mugged yesterday. I couldn’t believe it, but the guy really shouted, “Your money or your life   “

4. Is it true that Psalm 42:5 is the source of the song “Why so Downcast    ” 

5. Instead of “you’re welcome,” do you use the phrase “no problem   ”

6. Who exclaimed the famous words, “Give me liberty or give me death   “

Answers:

1. Have you ever read Frank Stockton’s short story “The Lady or the Tiger?

2. Did you know that during the Civil War, the government censored the song “Lorena”?

3. I was mugged yesterday. I couldn’t believe it, but the guy really shouted, “Your money or your life!

4. Is it true that Psalm 42:5 is the source of the song “Why so Downcast?

5. Instead of “you’re welcome,” do you use the phrase “no problem”?

6. Who exclaimed the famous words, “Give me liberty or give me death!

For more exciting insights  into the closely related topic of how to use other pesky punctuation marks with end quotation marks, click here.

Yours for a more vibrant writing class,

Sharon Watson

 

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Would you like more grammar tutorials? Check these out:

How to use commas in compound sentences with coordinating conjunctions
How to punctuate dialog with Tarzan
How to use quotation marks and punctuation
How to use question marks and exclamation points with quotation marks
How to use gender-neutral writing
“Everyone” is singular
Indefinite pronouns and verbs The link to the tutorial is in the introduction.
Sorting out confusing words like “its” and “it’s”
23 fun grammar lessons in the eBook Let’s Eat Fifi

Copyright © 2014 by Sharon Watson
Infographic copyright © 2014 by Sharon Watson
Original image of paper courtesy of graphic stock

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