Where did it go?

Where in the world did the question mark go in this headline from Yahoo! Travel?

miss ques tra

Guess where the mistake is

Guess where the mistake is on the home page of Yahoo! Movies.

guess where quest mov

It’s that question mark at the end of an imperative sentence.

There are four kinds of sentences: One is the declarative sentence. Do you know what an interrogative sentence is? Tell me what an imperative sentence is. That’s not an exclamatory sentence!

Readers all scream “Wrong!”

If you’re quoting people who are screaming, you probably want to punctuate the scream with an exclamation mark. And unlike the writer for Yahoo! Shopping, you probably know it belongs inside the quotation marks:

summer excl shop

Why is this so crucial?

Why is there a question mark at the end of this sentence on Yahoo! Makers? And how can a dimmer reduce overall energy output?

energy output

Great questions! The answers lie with a basic misunderstanding of English by the writer. The first has to do with a question embedded in a declarative sentence. The question is: Why is this so crucial? And some style experts would allow a question mark mid-sentence, like this: Why is this so crucial? you might ask. Looks weird to me. A better solution in my mind would be to recast the sentence: You might ask why this is so crucial.

On the second issue, the writer confused the word output with consumption or usage. At least, that’s my charitable view.

Should we give this writer a “time-out”?

Does the person responsible for this misplaced question mark on Yahoo! Parenting deserve an editorial “time-out”?

time-out quest quot

Unless the words within quotation marks are a question, the question mark goes after the closing quote mark.

Whose writing is this?

Words get out of order on Yahoo! Makers on a now seemingly daily basis. Wrong words are used daily, too, especially when the writer can’t choose between two words, only one of which is correct. And with more than a dozen punctuation marks, how can one pick among them? And whose writing is actually worth attempting to replicate?

whos a list diy

Did you spot all those errors? The incorrect word order? The use of between (which should be used with only two objects) instead of among (for more than two)? The lack of a question mark at the end of the question? And the use of who’s (which is a contraction of who is or who has) instead of whose (the possessive pronoun)?

Was the other coke involved?

Was the editor involved with a little coke before writing this headline for yahoo.com?

fp coca-coca

Let’s see how long it takes the geniuses at Yahoo! to change that typo to Coca-Cola and to change infamous to famous. (Infamous is not a synonym for famous; it means notorious or well-known for a very, very bad reason.) Maybe they’ll also move that question mark so that it’s outside the quotation marks.

Today?s top typos

Today’s top two typos come to you from the home page of Yahoo! Style here:

sty hp weeks

and here:

sty hp insitute

and here:


and here’s another one!


Fifty shades of Grey? Is that your question?

No, no, no. Somehow writers and editors at Yahoo! got the idea that terminating punctuation always goes before a closing quotation mark. To prove my assertion (as if one more example is proof), here’s a headline from Yahoo! Movies:

grey apos ques mov

In the U.S., commas and periods go before the closing quote mark. Colons and semicolons go after the quote mark. But exclamation marks and question marks can go before or after the quotation mark, depending on meaning. A question mark goes before the closing quote mark only if the words within the quotation marks are an actual question. That means that the writer thinks “Fifty shades of Grey” is the question. It is not.

How is that a question?

How could that be a question?

fp how lost

If the brain trust at the Yahoo! front page had written “How is body heat lost?” — that would be a question.


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