Monday, January 23, 2006

SEAHAWKS are goin' to the SUPERBOWL!

the idea of a seattle team playing for the national football league superbowl is far, far outside the scope of my cerebralsphere. in other matters, i had an interesting conversation with conybeare about punctuation this morning. he was wondering how to punctuate something like this:

can you tell me how to get to sesame street (is it scary there?)?
can you tell me how to get to sesame street (is it scary there?)
can you tell me how to get to sesame street (is it scary there)?

any opinions?


[1.25.05:]

2 votes (beth, mari) for item one. 1 vote (joel) for: can you tell me how to get to sesame street? (is it scary there?) i agree with everyone; based upon my initial grammar god consult (CMS, the everyday writer, and a forum), i think that item one is technically correct. and i strongly agree with joel in that the best way to avoid awkward structure is to just recast the sentence. still, i wonder if can you tell me how to get to sesame street? (is it scary there?) may result in a subtle change in meaning. structurally, it puts a bit more space between the two sentences and thereby may increase the difference in meaning between the two. joel, do you ALWAYS make parenthetical sentences their own sentence or only at the end of sentences? (e.g., would you alter this: the dinosaur (scholars continue to insist that 'dino' means terrible and that 'saur' means lizard) groaned once and was silent. okay, that's a horrible example...

to make matters even more confusing, the cms might actually campaign for item two; here's a similar example from the CMS (well, almost):

Who shouted, 'Fire!'

that's right, no question mark. here's another interesting one:

here favorite songs are 'hello dolly!' 'chicago,' and 'come with me.'

3 comments:

beth said...

even though it's ugly, i'd say:
can you... (is it scary there?)?

Joel said...

I believe I'd use:

Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street? (Is it scary there?)

Whenever the thing in parens is its own sentence, I always end the previous sentence first.

mari said...

I think option #1. altho it looks awkward.