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Thread: How dare you!

  1. #1
    Wandering worlds Gynn's Avatar
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    How dare you!

    What is the rule for a sentence that is both a question and an exclamation at the same time? Can you use either punctuation?

    Would it be:

    "How dare you?"
    or could it be:
    "How dare you!"

    "What the hell is that thing?"
    "What the hell is that thing!"

  2. #2
    practical experience, FTW
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    Try reading these two out loud as they are written.
    “How dare you?”
    “How dare you!”

    I’d pick the second one


    eta: Oops, I hit Post before I was done typing this up.
    You could also do the following:
    “How could you?” she exclaimed.

  3. #3
    practical experience, FTW srgalactica's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gynn View Post
    What is the rule for a sentence that is both a question and an exclamation at the same time? Can you use either punctuation?

    Would it be:

    "How dare you?"
    or could it be:
    "How dare you!"

    "What the hell is that thing?"
    "What the hell is that thing!"
    I think "How dare you!" is usually rhetorical, so I would go with the exclamation.

    "What the hell is that thing?" seems like a question to me, so I would use the question mark.



  4. #4
    It's too hot to play. SuperModerator alleycat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by srgalactica View Post
    I think "How dare you!" is usually rhetorical, so I would go with the exclamation.
    Yep.



  5. #5
    Just pokin' about Anna Spargo-Ryan's Avatar
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    It's generally accepted that you use an exclamation mark to close a yelling, emphatic or otherwise heightened question.

    You could use an interrobang, if only because its name is so wonderful.


    To clarify, these would all be acceptable:

    Where are you!

    What are you doing!

    Why are you leaving me!
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  6. #6
    The ever absent-minded CChampeau's Avatar
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    Take a look at this article, Using Exclamation Points in Professional Writing.

    Basically,
    1. Use exclamation marks sparingly!
    2. Aren't combined question marks and exclamation marks obnoxious?!
    C. Champeau

    "The truth will set you free."

  7. #7
    creative genie katci13's Avatar
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    I usually use ? but sometimes both. How could you?! Or just, How could you? she yelled. Whatever I feel like at the time.

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    Paranormal/Horror - Drafting

  8. #8
    Just pokin' about Anna Spargo-Ryan's Avatar
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    If you need to let the reader know the person is yelling or astonished, then do it in the dialogue tags, and then only use the question mark in the actual dialogue.

    "What?" he screamed. "I can't believe this. How could this happen?"

    From http://voices.yahoo.com/using-exclam...428.html?cat=4
    I don't agree with this advice. Not only because I think dialogue tags are lazy writing, for the most part, but because there is nothing in it to show how angry he is. This kind of expression is unbelievable.

    "What!" His voice shook. "How could this happen? I can't believe it." He gripped my hand, his eyes bloodshot.

    Emotion! Yeah!
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  9. #9
    Misbehaving and stuff Beachgirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by katci13 View Post
    I usually use ? but sometimes both. How could you?! Or just, How could you? she yelled. Whatever I feel like at the time.
    I've tried that, but my editor always slaps me on the wrist and makes me change it.



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  10. #10
    Pinkamena Diane Pie chloecomplains's Avatar
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    Are we not allowed to do ?! anymore? If not, we really need to make the interrobang more mainstream.

  11. #11
    Tell it like it Is Susan Littlefield's Avatar
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    for the first sentence, neither, and I would use a period. The preceding action and/or conversation will make it clear that the person is exclaiming.

    For the second, it's a question. Use a question mark.
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  12. #12
    Azarath Metrion Zinthos AshleyEpidemic's Avatar
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    I love interrobangs, but they don't frequently pop up in books. As for choosing I think it depends on which is the more meaningful sentiment. If I read, How dare you?, I would imagine a more smooth delivery. The exclamatory factory comes with the statement, but I get a sense of true offense and musing. When the exclamation point is used, I tend to only think of the shock and it comes off flat compared to the instance with the question mark.
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    Quote Originally Posted by srgalactica View Post
    I think "How dare you!" is usually rhetorical, so I would go with the exclamation.

    "What the hell is that thing?" seems like a question to me, so I would use the question mark.



  14. #14
    I heart sexy elves and wizards. fredXgeorge's Avatar
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    I'd use a question mark in that case. The phrase itself suggests to me that the speaker's voice is raised so unless they whisper it or something, I'd leave it.
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  15. #15
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    I would use a question mark for both, but italicise it for stress in 'How dare you?'

  16. #16
    practical experience, FTW
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    Yeah, but the first draft always has at least one sentence with ?!?!?!?!!! in it, right?

  17. #17
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    Count how many exclamation marks you come across in published writing. It's easy to show anger, surprise, or anythng else without them, so you certainly won't find many.

    And outside of a comic book, an interrobang would turn a novel into a wall banger for me.

  18. #18
    The Dragon's Daughter Arclight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gynn View Post
    Would it be:

    "How dare you?"
    or could it be:
    "How dare you!"

    "What the hell is that thing?"
    "What the hell is that thing!"
    I'd use "How dare you!" (because it's a rhetorical question), and either "What the hell is that thing?" or "What the hell is that thing?!" (to show extra incredulity).

    Quote Originally Posted by Jamesaritchie View Post
    And outside of a comic book, an interrobang would turn a novel into a wall banger for me.
    Really? I agree that multiple exclamation or question marks look unprofessional, but an interrobang is perfect for expressing simultaneous disbelief and anger. To me, "What the hell were you thinking?!" reads better than "What the hell were you thinking?"
    Lord, let me be brave,
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  19. #19
    The Appleton House ccarver30's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by srgalactica View Post
    I think "How dare you!" is usually rhetorical, so I would go with the exclamation.

    "What the hell is that thing?" seems like a question to me, so I would use the question mark.
    I agree. How would one even answer the question "how dare you"?
    How? I dare by calling you a guttersnipe.

  20. #20
    Totally Ninja! quickWit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arclight View Post
    To me, "What the hell were you thinking?!" reads better than "What the hell were you thinking?"
    I agree with james on this point, Arc. The exclamation is unnecessary. If the events leading up to the statement have been established clearly the reader should able to infer the tone of the speaker without additional punctuation.
    Grill me a cheese.

  21. #21
    Totally Ninja! quickWit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccarver30 View Post
    How? I dare by calling you a guttersnipe.
    Whoa, pretty strong words! Are you going to take that from her, Buffy?
    Grill me a cheese.

  22. #22
    Misbehaving and stuff Beachgirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buffysquirrel View Post
    Yeah, but the first draft always has at least one sentence with ?!?!?!?!!! in it, right?
    Oh absolutely. Which is why I get slapped on the wrist when I forget to take them out.



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  23. #23
    a demon for tea EMaree's Avatar
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    One day the interrobang mark will be back in fashion. ONE DAY.

    Until then, I wait...
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  24. #24
    Let's see what's on special today.. Bufty's Avatar
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    Context should clarify how words are delivered and with what intent. If an intended question is delivered it needs a question mark. How dare you - is an expression rarely, if ever, delivered as a question with the expectation of any answer.

    The manner of delivery and intent of most phrases becomes unclear when they're considered in isolation.
    Last edited by Bufty; 01-17-2013 at 09:15 PM.
    Everything yields to treatment.

  25. #25
    It is so ordered. AW Moderator zanzjan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chloecomplains View Post
    Are we not allowed to do ?! anymore? If not, we really need to make the interrobang more mainstream.
    I've used it in published work. Not often, but when it works best, it works best. I've never been called on it, fwiw.

    Quote Originally Posted by Susan Littlefield View Post
    for the first sentence, neither, and I would use a period. The preceding action and/or conversation will make it clear that the person is exclaiming.
    I disagree with this. If I saw an agitated character say "How dare you." I'd think that was poorly written, personally. The neutral punctuation choice of '.' undermines what is clearly intended to be an emotionally non-neutral statement, plus is at odds with the sentence clearly being a question (whether or not rhetorical.) At the very least I'd err on the side of "?".

    Punctuation exists to add emphasis to sentences where needed, or where it brings clarity. Don't be afraid to use it. Just don't over-use it (!!!!) or mis-use it. If an editor has a problem with it, they'll tell you, and if you've made the best choice, your readers won't notice your punctuation at all. Except maybe JAR.
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