How did the editor for Yahoo! Shine overlook the missing question mark in this headline?
Where did it go? Here, at the end of an imperative sentence:
I suspect that the writers and/or editors over at Yahoo! Shine haven’t been trained in the wonder that is punctuation. If they had been, they’d know enough not to put the question mark here:
The question mark belongs after the closing quotation mark because the entire sentence is a question.
I suspect the writer didn’t look up the spelling of Lil’ Kim; if she had, she’d know there’s an apostrophe missing here:
So, when the writers aren’t dropping punctuation marks, they’re adding them where they don’t belong, like here:
The word is postpartum, without a hyphen.
And my favorite mistake, arousing my suspicion that no one at Yahoo! cares about spelling, is this misspelling:
Yahoo! Shine asks “Eat clean?” But, what does it really mean to “eat clean”?
It means that the writer didn’t know where to put the question mark. In the U.S., the comma and period go before the closing quotation mark. A question mark or exclamation mark go before the closing quotation mark only if they apply to the words within the quotation marks.
Are you as confounded by punctuation as the staffers over at Yahoo! Shine are? They seem to just sprinkle those little marks in everything they write, like so much fairy dust, as if they’ll turn the simplest headlines into Pulitzer-worthy gems.
It doesn’t work that way. Adding a colon doesn’t make this headline more striking. It just looks silly:
They must think that any sentence or headline that starts with how is a question. That’s not how it works:
That’s not a question. Guess what else is not a question — this simple imperative sentence:
Did Ranan Lachman ask himself a question? It’s not clear from this sentence on the Yahoo! front page:
Correctly punctuated, the sentence gets a little awkward:
Why not find a way to rent pricey Lego sets for his son and return them when he was done? Ranan Lachman asked.
A better solution is to rewrite the sentence:
Ranan Lachman wondered if he could find a way to rent pricey Lego sets for his son and return them when he was done.
Ranan Lachman asked: Why not find a way to rent pricey Lego sets for his son and return them when he was done?
Nuts? No, thanks.
Maybe you weren’t asking if I wanted some of that salty stuff. Maybe you were trying to ask an entirely different question. But, the truth is, the folks at yahoo.com were asking: Nuts?
Why can’t they remember that if the words inside the quotation marks form a question, then the question mark goes inside, too? It’s a common mistake at Yahoo!, and it just drives me nuts.
Parking ticket? That’s quite a question, and even though it makes no sense, that’s what this headline on Yahoo! News asks:
It’s a common error on Yahoo!, but I can’t figure out why. It’s so illogical. The only explanation I can think of: In the U.S., commas and periods go before a closing quotation mark. So, maybe Yahoo!’s writers think all punctuation marks go before a closing quote mark. It just ain’t so. If a question mark applies to the words inside the quotation marks, it goes inside the quotation marks, too. Pretty simple, no?
It seems that whenever a headline starts with the word how, the writers for Yahoo! Shine automatically think it’s a question:
How is that a question?