Multiple Question Marks

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crutschow

Joined Mar 14, 2008
27,472
A nit.
I've noticed (with the mild annoyance I feel for such things as using all capitals, all bold letters, or a large font) that many posters use multiple question marks at the end of an interrogative sentence.
Is this characteristic of some foreign languages?
Or is that just the poster's lame way of trying to emphasize that it's really a big question?
 
Last edited:

Papabravo

Joined Feb 24, 2006
16,513
A nit.
I've noticed (with the mild annoyance I feel for such things as using all capitals, all bold letters, or a large font) that many posters use multiple question marks at the end of a interrogative sentence.
Is this characteristic of some foreign languages?
Or is that just the poster's lame way of trying to emphasize that it's really a big question?
Maybe it is just a textspeak method of adding emphasis. A generation of phone users has forgotten how to write a coherent sentence to express even the most rudimentary ideas. We may lose this site at some point, when we have a failure to communicate.
 

MrAl

Joined Jun 17, 2014
8,386
A nit.
I've noticed (with the mild annoyance I feel for such things as using all capitals, all bold letters, or a large font) that many posters use multiple question marks at the end of a interrogative sentence.
Is this characteristic of some foreign languages?
Or is that just the poster's lame way of trying to emphasize that it's really a big question?
Yes i know what you mean and interesting that you brought this up.
If i remember right long long time ago in grammar there was a rule that you are "allowed" to use just TWO exclamation points in a row like "What!!" but no more. What we see on the web however is all kinds of stuff that go far against this rule.
It appears that the rules of 'proper' grammar go out the window when we hit the web, but then it may be time for that anyway since there are so many spoken variations now many of us probably cant even understand some people even though they speak the same language.

The way i read more than one question mark (which i dont think is allowed in proper grammar) is that the reply was due to a shocking presumption of some type so the writer is trying to emphasize that.
"We saw five hundred trillion people gather for the last meeting".
"What ???"

or maybe to question while leaving out a word they dont want to spell out:
"What the ????"

We also see this:
"Yikes !!!!"

What is that super duper emphasis.

Yes language is evolving.
 

bogosort

Joined Sep 24, 2011
678
What draws my attention, is how the English language fails to use the inverted question mark at the beginning of a question. Using said symbol makes it easier for the reader to understand what's coming next. ¿Get it? ;)
A prefix symbol for interrogative statements in English is redundant, as most questions include question words early in their development that signify the intent. "How are you doing?" "Hey, what are we eating tonight?" etc.

In more complex sentence constructions, our brains naturally build bite-sized chunks of information as they parse the sentence. The question chunk almost always comes at the end, which fits well with a postfix symbol, as it associates the grammatical signifier in proximity with the information of the question. "Honey, I know how much you love banana bread (you mentioned it in our wedding vows), and I know I said that you could have the last bite, but -- pretty please with a cherry on top -- can I have the last bite?" Reading that sentence, the brain builds a cogent picture in tempo with the words; a prefix '?' symbol wouldn't add anything or aid in parsing.

Note also that, in English speech, questions are typically indicated by a rising inflection at the end of the statement, perfectly in line with a question mark at the end of a sentence.
 

cmartinez

Joined Jan 17, 2007
7,378
Note also that, in English speech, questions are typically indicated by a rising inflection at the end of the statement, perfectly in line with a question mark at the end of a sentence.
That's not what I perceive... whenever I listen to a question in English or Spanish, its proper intonation starts at the very beginning. And also a rising inflection at the end of the statement, as you've said.

as most questions include question words early in their development
The operative word being "most". As Agustín's just mentioned, a question mark at the beginning of a long sentence is a good aid.
 

Yaakov

Joined Jan 27, 2019
3,345
A nit.
I've noticed (with the mild annoyance I feel for such things as using all capitals, all bold letters, or a large font) that many posters use multiple question marks at the end of an interrogative sentence.
Is this characteristic of some foreign languages?
Or is that just the poster's lame way of trying to emphasize that it's really a big question?
The should just use an interrobang:
 
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