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    Punctuation marks in a list of questions

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    Punctuation marks in a list of questions

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    Ich habe Zweifel an der folgenden Liste (obwohl sie von einem native speaker stammt):

    ... we addressed the following questions: (1) are boxes important?; (2) do green and black boxes interact?; (3) does the response of the green boxes correlate with blah blah blah?; (4) do box colours exert different effects?; and (5) does the effect of boxes change?

    Ich störe mich einerseits an den doppelten Satzzeichen "?;" und dann daran, dass es hinter der Zahl klein geschrieben weitergeht. Ich fände zwei Möglichkeiten akzeptabel:

    A mit fünf getrennten Fragen ...
    ... we addressed the following questions: (1) Are boxes important? (2) Do green and black boxes interact? ... (4) Do box colours exert different effects? And (5) does the effect of boxes change?

    oder B mit fünf Fragen in einem Satz ...
    ... we addressed the following questions: (1) are boxes important, (2) do green and black boxes interact, ..., (4) do box colours exert different effects, and (5) does the effect of boxes change?

    ... wobei ich wohl A vorziehen würde.
    Gibt es noch andere, bessere Lösungen?
    AuthorEmil 14 (299747) 31 Jan 12, 02:46
    Comment
    I would do it like the native writer.

    You don't typically capitalize after a colon. There are 5 separate questions, each deserving its own question mark.
    #1Authorcryme (795004) 31 Jan 12, 03:27
    Comment
    I would do it like the native writer.

    That's a good guideline--if the native speaker is correct.

    I think your instincts are good, Carullus. The combination of "?;" is not attractive. Your option A is more felicitous, though I wouldn't introduce (5) with a capital "And."

    Here are three sites that support your preference.

    http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/marks/...

    "Sometimes a question will actually end with a series of brief questions. When that happens, especially when the brief questions are more or less follow-up questions to the main question, each of the little questions can begin with a lowercase letter and end with a question mark.

    "Who is responsible for executing the plan? the coach? the coaching staff? the players?"

    http://www.ncsu.edu/ncsu/grammar/Multip3.html

    "Question (From an English faculty member): I have trouble with question marks when question are embedded in a longer sentence:

    " 'Her question, "Would you like a copy of the memo?" took him by surprise.'

    "I feel the need of another comma at the end of the question to match the one after question, but "?," seems odd. Must one rewrite to avoid the embedding? Or what?

    "Answer: Your punctuation of the embedded sentence is technically correct (Chicago Manual 5.5, 'When two different marks of punctuation are called for at the same location in a sentence, the stronger mark only is retained.'), which, I suspect, is small comfort. Writers who feel the need of a comma are seldom distracted by prescriptive grammatical rules."

    http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~jlynch/Writing/...

    "Semicolons probably produce more confusion and misery than all the other punctuation marks combined. But they're really not very difficult to master."

    "The semicolon has only two common uses. The first is to separate the items in a list, often after a colon, especially when the listed items contain commas: 'The following books will be covered on the midterm: the Odyssey, through book 12; Ovid's Metamorphoses, except for the passages on last week's quiz; and the selections from Chaucer.' The semicolon makes it clear that there are three items, whereas using commas to separate them could produce confusion."

    "The other legitimate use of a semicolon is to separate two independent clauses in one sentence: 'Shakespeare's comedies seem natural; his tragedies seem forced.' " ...

    "It's risky to use semicolons anywhere else."

    Hope that helps. I don't have my copy of the Chicago Manual of Style here in the apartment, otherwise I'd refer to it.


    #2AuthorAmy-MiMi (236989) 31 Jan 12, 04:44
    Comment
    I think your instincts are good, Carullus.

    Thank you, but I haven't voiced an opinion yet :-) For the record, though, I don't like the ?; combination, either.
    #3AuthorCarullus (670120) 31 Jan 12, 07:53
    Comment
    (OT: Das hat mich auch gewundert, dass Du angesprochen wurdest, Carullus.)

    I still think the version from the native speaker is best.
    #4Authorcryme (795004) 31 Jan 12, 07:56
    Comment
    Das hat mich auch gewundert, dass Du angesprochen wurdest, Carullus.

    Mich auch. Emil 14 = Carullus?
    #5AuthorStravinsky (637051) 31 Jan 12, 10:35
    Comment
    Emil, your doubts are justified. The native speaker is IMO wrong. As far as I am aware, you cannot combine a question mark with a semicolon (or colon or comma or period).

    Both of your suggestions are possible, although I would make one small change (also suggested by Amy): remove the "and" before question #5. In version A, you would then of course need to capitalize the first word of the last question.

    ... we addressed the following questions: (1) Are boxes important? (2) Do green and black boxes interact? ... (4) Do box colours exert different effects? (5) Does the effect of boxes change?

    Although your alternative B is possible, I agree with you and Amy that A is better. Version A, with its capitalization and question marks, sets off the individual questions more clearly, which, based on the fact that they are numbered, is presumably what you want.
    #6AuthorSD3 (451227) 31 Jan 12, 13:12
    Comment
    Sorry, for confusing Emil and Carullus. I must have gotten dizzy switching between threads.

    #7AuthorAmy-MiMi (236989) 31 Jan 12, 13:47
    Comment
    The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed., (6.60 or thereabouts) supports version A. This text might be BE though...anyone have a BE style guide to consult?
    #8AuthorStrawberry (357492) 31 Jan 12, 14:35
    Comment
    Vielen Dank allen für die ausführlichen Antworten.
    Danke auch für die Kommentare zum "And".
    Das hat die Sache für mich abschließend geklärt.
    Super!

    Keine Sorge, Amy-MiMi, ich erzähle dann an anderer Stelle noch etwas über spin moves.
    #9AuthorEmil 14 (299747) 31 Jan 12, 14:52
    Comment
    @1,8:

    Here is what The Chicago Manual of Style has to say (15th edition p. 257):

    When a colon is used within a sentence ... the first word following ... is lowercased.

    1. The study involves three food types: cereals, fruits and vegetables, and fats.

    When a colon introduces two or more sentences ... the first word following it is capitalized.

    2. Henrietta was faced with a hideous choice: Should she blah? Or should she blah?

    3. I argue the following propositions: First, blah blah blah. Second, blah blah blah. Third, blah, blah, blah.

    So the OP's A seems to be in good order.
    #10Authorion1122 (443218) 01 Feb 12, 13:01
     
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