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Semiquestion

Combination question mark and comma, similar to a semicolon.
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Semicolons have two primary uses: separating items in a series containing internal punctuation, as in "Bangor, Maine; Hartford, Connecticut; and Boston, Massachusetts", and to separate closely related independent clauses. However, sometimes the initial independent clause is a question, as in:

Any particular time I should stop by? I just checked your office and nobody was there.

If the first sentence was a statement, this would definitely be a place to use a semicolon, but since it isn't, we have to split the sentence so we can use a question mark. This feels wrong to me, and so I propose a modest addition to our set of punctuation marks: a question mark with a comma at the bottom instead of a period. In fact, if one has a modular interpretation of punctuation, one has to wonder why we don't have this character already. For instance, the period ends a sentence and the question mark ends an interrogative sentence, yet the question mark consists of a curvy part and a period, implying the curvy part expresses interrogativity and the period expresses finality. Likewise, a semicolon consists of a combination of both the meaning and the symbols of the period and the comma. It almost seems as if an elegant, modular system of punctuation was designed, but one useful combination has been neglected. Has anyone seen this proposed before?

rotwang, Apr 02 2004

patent application WO9219458 http://v3.espacenet...C&IDX=WO9219458&F=0
[xaviergisz, Nov 02 2007]

[link]






       // but one useful combination has been neglected. //   

       I'd say more than one:
The quesclamation mark ("Are you kidding?!")
  

       The question comma (What did you say?, he asked.)
phundug, Apr 02 2004
  

       //Any particular time I should stop by? I just checked your office and nobody was there.//   

       Hey rotwang, how would you combine these into a single sentence using the Semiquestion ?!?
riskyrisk, Apr 02 2004
  

       We could like use it to write in upspeak &seqm
Fussass, Apr 03 2004
  

       "I just checked your office and nobody was there - any particular time I should stop by?"
Detly, Apr 03 2004
  

       What Detly said.
waugsqueke, Apr 03 2004
  

       riskyrisk: Um, you would replace the question mark with a semiquestion.   

       detly & waug: This is a fine workaround if you are composing the sentence as you write it, but this doesn't work if you are transcribing dialogue. This is a legitimate and not infrequent construction in speech that our present set of punctuation symbols cannot capture.   

       ling: You know, I hadn't thought of this, since I write exclusively by using a sharpened reed to make impressions in soft clay tablets, which I then bake. Have you ever tried to type an umlaut on a US keyboard? Incredibly, it's possible, despite the fact that it's not "on" the keyboard.
rotwang, Apr 04 2004
  

       // This is a fine workaround if you are composing the sentence as you write it, but this doesn't work if you are transcribing dialogue. //   

       Huh? It works just as well as your proposal would. And it's not a workaround - it's how it should be written.   

       Transcription already has its own shorthand, complete with punctuation.   

       // This is a legitimate and not infrequent construction in speech that our present set of punctuation symbols cannot capture. //   

       Completely disagree. Detly has shown you how to do it.
waugsqueke, Apr 04 2004
  

       waug:   

       //Huh? It works just as well as your proposal would. And it's not a workaround - it's how it should be written.//   

       So if a witness spoke such a sentence during deposition, and you were transcribing a longhand account of his testimony based on an audio recording, you would "correct" his sentence structure for him?   

       Detly's sentence is not more correct - it is simply more amenable to our punctuation system. When something is done in a way other than the way in which it should be done, due to a limitation in the system in which it is being implemented, it is called a workaround.   

       jutta: Damn. Looks like I'll have to withdraw my patent application.
rotwang, Apr 04 2004
  

       There is no limitation. It's not being done in a way other than it should be.   

       I don't see the problem.
waugsqueke, Apr 04 2004
  

       Can anyone think up a better example(?), because I'm having trouble.
theleopard, Sep 04 2007
  

       A quesclamation mark is fully baked, and called an 'interrobang'. I like your name better.
GutPunchLullabies, Sep 04 2007
  

       I think waugs is being a bit tough on Dr Rotwang here, and despite Detly's virtuoso example of clause reversal defeating the problem, I'm inclined to think this is a good idea. Having said that, I don't like the notion of a question-mark with an ugly comma hanging off it.
zen_tom, Nov 02 2007
  
      
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