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#679256 - Sun Jan 08 2012 10:51 AM Grammar question
root17 Offline
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Registered: Sun Jul 16 2000
Posts: 724
Loc: Rochester New York USA 
Would you use a comma or question mark (or both) between the words “speeding” and “an” in this sentence?

When asked by a young patrol officer "Do you know you were speeding?" an 83-year-old woman driver talked herself out of a ticket by stating, "Yes, but I had to get there before I forgot where I was going."
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#679263 - Sun Jan 08 2012 11:02 AM Re: Grammar question [Re: root17]
dg_dave Offline
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Registered: Sun Oct 05 2003
Posts: 19289
Loc: Dallas, TX USA              
I would solely use the ? and not a comma.
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#679267 - Sun Jan 08 2012 11:15 AM Re: Grammar question [Re: dg_dave]
postcards2go Offline
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Registered: Thu Nov 20 2008
Posts: 785
Loc: New Jersey USA
Just the question mark, but you do need a comma after 'patrol officer'.
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#679282 - Sun Jan 08 2012 01:40 PM Re: Grammar question [Re: postcards2go]
reeshy Offline
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Registered: Tue Aug 11 2009
Posts: 741
Loc: Glasgow Scotland UK           
I would include the question mark AND the comma after the quote. This is where the comma would be without a direct quotation, i.e. "When asked by a patrol officer, an 83-year-old...". You could always remove the direct quote and write it "when asked if she knew she was speeding", but that's just an alternative if you're unsure about the commas.
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#679285 - Sun Jan 08 2012 01:49 PM Re: Grammar question [Re: postcards2go]
mehaul Offline
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Registered: Wed Feb 03 2010
Posts: 5054
Loc: Florida USA
When asked by a young patrol officer "Do you know you were speeding?" is a clause that can be dropped from the construction and the remainder "An 83-year-old woman driver talked herself out of a ticket by stating, "Yes, but I had to get there before I forgot where I was going."" can stand on its own. Clauses that can be separated should be set off by a comma. It is also lingually used as a break in the connection of "...you were verbing an object..." No need of the hyphens in 83 year old.
The sentence might be constructed more easily by:
A young patrol officer asked an eighty-three year old woman if she knew she was speeding and she replied. "Yes, but I had to get there before I forgot where I was going."
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#679448 - Mon Jan 09 2012 12:37 PM Re: Grammar question [Re: mehaul]
AlexxSchneider Offline
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Registered: Fri Jun 26 2009
Posts: 234
Loc: Perth Scotland UK             
Originally Posted By: mehaul
No need of the hyphens in 83 year old.



I disagree; I would hyphenate an age when it is being used as an adjective.
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#679474 - Mon Jan 09 2012 03:38 PM Re: Grammar question [Re: AlexxSchneider]
mehaul Offline
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Registered: Wed Feb 03 2010
Posts: 5054
Loc: Florida USA
It can be done, but please note I said no need (the hyphen is required when spelling out the age number as I did). I didn't say wrong. It's a matter of choice it seems in that hyphen application. And the whole posed posting is a matter of style too. In a joke relation environment, the structure passes as is and in all the other ways suggested here. They all achieve the result of getting the point across and that is the basic premise of language. It does have the several noted failings too.
Researching punctuation rules (not grammar which has to do with what form of word to use) I stumbled upon this item in Wikipedia under "Punctuation":
Novel punctuation marks An international patent application was filed, and published in 1992 under WO number WO9219458,[11] for two new punctuation marks: the "question comma" and the "exclamation comma". The patent application entered into national phase exclusively with Canada, advertised as lapsing in Australia on 27 January 1994[12] and in Canada on 6 November 1995.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punctuation
And for a guide to punctuation rules (which change as language changes, as evidenced by the patent above) try this
"Guide to Punctuation" by Larry Trask which can be found linked at:
http://www.informatics.sussex.ac.uk/department/docs/punctuation/node00.html


Edited by mehaul (Mon Jan 09 2012 03:43 PM)
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"...Tomorrow's come a long way to help you."
Tim Davis 'Your Saving Grace' Steve Miller Band (1969)
"...Yesterday's at least a mile back."
Dale Peters 'Dreaming in the Country' James Gang (1971)

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