Question mark punctuation.

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by Enmos, Jun 1, 2008.

  1. Myles Registered Senior Member

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    No you wouldn't. You could choose to do otherwise. Go on, be a rebel !
     
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  3. tim840 Registered Senior Member

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    What I'm saying is, I wouldn't have to, but I would want to, because I would want my writing style to be standardized rather than having arbitrary spaces after only some of the punctuation marks. It wouldn't feel right to me to use a spae after just one or two punctuation marks, but not the rest.
     
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  5. Enmos Staff Member

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    Ever hear of Obsessive-compulsive disorder ?

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  7. Enmos Staff Member

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    There are lots of exceptions in language already.
    Besides, what wrong with personalizing your writing style a bit. Everyone does it, you included.. we don't have the same handwriting.
     
  8. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    I supposed every english/grammar teacher I have ever had. It also seems to be my nature to like it. Its why I have the job I have.
     
  9. tim840 Registered Senior Member

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    My writing style is personalized already. I write in all capital letters (often).
     
  10. Enmos Staff Member

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    That's exactly what I meant..

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    Me too btw.. capitals.
     
  11. Spud Emperor solanaceous common tater Registered Senior Member

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    I was going to comment on the semi colon... but I'm too half arsed!
     
  12. Enmos Staff Member

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    My semi colon ? Go ahead, I probably didn't use it the right way.. (?)
     
  13. Spud Emperor solanaceous common tater Registered Senior Member

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    You've got a persecution complex now too?

    No it was my usual pathetic attempt at humour semi ( half), colon (arse?), that's all.
     
  14. Enmos Staff Member

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    Ah ok..

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    No, I don't have a persecution complex. It's just that I'm never sure about using semi colons.
     
  15. Spud Emperor solanaceous common tater Registered Senior Member

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    Yeah, best to keep 'em under wraps!
     
  16. Myles Registered Senior Member

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    Why aren't you out chasing kangaroos or whatever you Aussies do ?
     
  17. Myles Registered Senior Member

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    Babies' colons are kept under wraps.
     
  18. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    The problem with using unconventional typography is that it slows down the readers. Yes, that extra little space isn't going to mislead anyone but it's going to make our eyes dally just a few milliseconds longer, wondering what special meaning is lurking there. Multiply it by every question mark in an entire piece of writing and multiply that by all the people who are going to read it (hopefully, or you wouldn't bother writing it), and you're wasting people's time just to make the point that you're an iconoclast. It's rather rude if you look at it that way.

    It's like people who don't bother to use their spell checker. We've recently discovered that we read words holistically, all the letters at once rather than sequentially. So when there's one missing or wrong or extra, we have to stop and puzzle it out. Those people are being rude to us, wasting a lot of our collective time to indulge their laziness and save a little of their time.
    We expect reading poetry to be hard work, so if it's typeset unconventionally it's just one more thing to struggle with on our way to the revelation that comes with understanding. Or it's just one more thing that makes many of us simply not ever read poetry. Life's too short to spend any of it trying to figure out what the hell a poet is trying to tell me.

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    Intheearliestwritingthewordsjustallrantogetherwithoutanypunctuationatall (That space in the middle of the line showed up at random, I didn't put it there!)

    Then somebody got the bright idea of putting spaces between the words so we could tell where one leaves off and the next one begins. It was simply for readability. There's no readability problem with punctuation marks because it's obvious that it comes between the end of one word and the beginning of the next. (With obvious exceptions like the apostrophe in contractions.) So from the standpoint of reading ergonomics, there's really no need to put a space on either side of a punctuation mark!

    Spaces take up--well--space, and printers hate to waste space. Which is why they have spaces of different width in professional typesetting and always use the smallest one they can get away with. I don't really know why the convention arose to put a space to the right of a period or any other punctuation. I'd guess it was because the space between the words was there first, and when they invented punctuation marks they just left the one space and put the punctuation mark with the sentence it belongs to. It would be pretty weird to read:

    How are you feeling today ?I'm just fine !Even my cat is having a nice day ,when he bothers to get out of bed.
    That is indeed an old typing convention which I remember, as an old typist. It took me years to stop putting the extra space in on word processors.
    Au contraire. The word processor embedded in SciForums, for example, compresses out extra spaces!
    They show up in the composing window so your original characters are obviously preserved, but they do not appear in the actual post. As I said, this WP software compresses them out. I'd say it was to save space, but there is no economy of space on this SciForums. Half the screen is whitespace. There's way too much space between paragraphs, and the quote boxes are ridiculous.
     
  19. Enmos Staff Member

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    I suspect the extra space doesn't slow down people at all.
    In fact, I think the question mark is spotted more readily this way.

    Doesn't this contradict what you said above ? The question mark isn't part of the word, yet it's stuck to it. Word recognition should suffer from sticking the question mark to a word.

    :bugeye: For real.. ?

    It's weird not because you put the spaces between the word and the punctuation marks, but because you left out the space between the sentences.
     
  20. darini Registered Senior Member

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    I know a German guy who starts every noun with capital letter!

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    Back on topic, I don't know if any of you has ever read the Portuguese writer José Saramago... he's got a very interesting way to use ponctuations.

    cheers
     
  21. Enmos Staff Member

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    Lots of commas ?
     
  22. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    If I remember, I will start putting a space prior to ? & !. It does look better, Putting a space prior to a period or comma just looks like a mistake and is not aesthetically pleasing.

    BTW: I wonder if it is incorrect usage to not spell question mark & exclamation point, requiring an awkward period following one of them.
     
  23. algebraic topology Registered Member

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    Not if you use a nonbreaking space.
     

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