Is that your question?

“Based on a true story?” That’s the question that asks:


Of course, that makes no sense, because the entire headline is actually the question. For some reason the editor made a common mistake (at least it’s common on Yahoo!) by placing the question mark before the closing quotation mark. In the U.S., a comma and period go before a closing quotation mark; a semicolon and colon go after. If you’re looking to place a question mark, put it before the closing quote only if the entire text inside the quotation marks is a question. Otherwise, it goes after the closing quote mark.

Guess what’s not a question

Guess what’s not a question. It’s this headline on the home page of Yahoo! TV:

guess ques tv

That’s an imperative sentence starting with guess, which is a command to the reader, not a question.

Prom? Is that your question?

It’s a short question, and it may mean something to a Yahoo! Style reader, but to me it’s nonsense:

prom ques sty hp

Prom? That’s the question? Uh, no. The question is: Are these kids too young to be dressing up for ‘prom’? The entire headline is a question, not just the word in the quotation marks.

Guess what’s not a question

Guess what’s not a question on the home page of Yahoo! Style. This:

guess who sty

It’s not a question, it’s a imperative sentence.

Is this the end?

Is this the end of the “Stupid Punctuation Placements”? Probably not. It’s on the home page of Yahoo! Parenting, where the editor thinks “Post-Baby Bikini Body” is an actual question:

body quest quot par

Surprise! Guess what’s wrong here

No surprise here: Yahoo! Makers makes a mistake. Shocking, no?

guess quest diy

Guess what the mistake is. It’s that question mark at the end of an imperative sentence.

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!

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.

Was the other coke involved?

Was the editor involved with a little coke before writing this headline for

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.

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