1 2 3 4  6 7 8 13
(to someone who had written:)

Would someone please explain to me the grammar of those sentences. (No question mark because it's not really a question; it's a request.)

Objection, yeronner. Both are questions in form. Both should be followed by question marks. I know many of you disagree. You're wrong.

Not one to disagree, I support your assertion without reservations. Just my two cents.

Skitt
I'm Good Enough, I'm Smart Enough and,
Doggone it, People Like Me. S. Smalley
.

Would someone please explain to me the grammar of those sentences. (No question mark because it's not really a question; it's a request.)

Objection, yeronner. Both are questions in form. Both should be followed by question marks. I know many of you disagree. You're wrong.

Would any AUE member seriously argue this? Who does the 'you' refer to?
And I've posted all this before, so please don't race your high horse past the barn.

For you might spill the milk?

Charles Riggs
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
kill The commas can be used, of course, but their ... tracts is the one who wanted to killJR.)

I meant the past participle "sold" as in "having sold": 6. The tycoon,(having) sold the offshore oil tracts for a lot of money, wanted to kill JR.

I see what you and Katy (and others) have said.
Example 4, "The prime number few", makes sense if "The prime" is referring to the best (prime) of some sort of thing, person or animal.

I have no problem with "the prime" as described above - it's not a common usage but perfectly clear. However, ... or one hundred and five, but the verb "to number" implies that we are going to be told the number.

" Mr Hyde had numbered few familiars - even the master of the servant-maid had only seen him twice"
RLS, The Strange Case of Dr J. & Mr. H
That's the only BrE example I've found, although it seems to be idiomatic (if a bit arch?) in current AmE, though, as here:

"There was no large effort by any of the protestors to inform any of the sidewalk gawkers and store employees who flocked to their front windows to stare open-mouthed at the procession, save for the aforementioned signs, which numbered few and were mostly scrawled in felt-tip marker."
John McFarlane, "Notes from a Protest, Good Magazine, (URL lost but Google on "numbered few and it shows up)

"Number few/many" sounds archaic/poetic to these BrE ears, but not Dead Wrong. By that I mean I wasn't that surprised to find it in Stevenson, and it wouldn't be out of place in Meredith-type prose too, would it?

Ross Howard
An example given by Follett where the "ungrammatical" comma is an essential signpost is
What will happen if they do not need not concern us here.

This is perfectly clear in speech, and it is plain courtesy to represent the pause after the first "not" with a comma in writing.

Niven's comma is not so important, but IMO still helpful. On the other hand, I think the comma in Peter Viereck's line

And magic that believes itself, must die
is intrusive & obtrusive.

Joe Fineman joe (Email Removed)
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
I wonder whether "the prime" here can be meaning 4 in the entry "prime" in M-W: 4 : the chief ... could reply, if the terraces were few: 4. The prime number few. Is this a plausible interpretation of the sentence?

The fat that people eat accumulates. Beats me.

Use pauses (commas) and consider "sold" as a past participle: 6. The tycoon, sold the offshore oil tracts for a lot of money, wanted to kill

You keep forgetting the "JR"

John Dean
Oxford
Would someone please explain to me the grammar of those sentences. (No question mark because it's not really a question; it's a request.)

Objection, yeronner. Both are questions in form. Both should be followed by question marks. I know many of you disagree. You're wrong.

Because modern leading style guides, both British and American, fail to back up your adamant assertion, it must be regarded as merely your unhumble opinion.
The Chicago Manual of Style 14th Edition , published in 1993, diametrically disagrees with your assertion, saying in Section 5.26 on page 164
A request courteously disguised as a question should not be terminated by a question mark.
The Oxford Style Manual , Section 5.8.1, copyright 2003, is more flexible, allowing for some judgement and personal preference in deciding to follow a request with a question mark, but that is far from being support for your flat-out assertion that omitting the question mark is "wrong".

You can find support for your opinion in Gowers's second edition of Fowler's Modern English Usage , but that was written about forty years ago, so it can't quite be called modern.
And I've posted all this before,

That you've posted it before doesn't make it any more appropriate.
so please don't race your high horse past the barn.

The tone of your posting suggests that your horse is the high one.
Use pauses (commas) and consider "sold" as a past participle: ... oil tracts for a lot of money, wanted to kill

You keep forgetting the "JR"

I noticed it eventually. Anyway, it's not right to say I keep forgetting it. I never did really forget it. I overlooked it when I originally posted, and I didn't "keep" overlooking it: I just did it once.
Anyhow, the "JR" isn't necessary. Intransitive "kill" is sufficient, probably even better if it makes the puzzle a little more puzzling.
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
Objection, yeronner. Both are questions in form. Both should be followed by question marks. I know many of you disagree. You're wrong.

Because modern leading style guides, both British and American, fail to back up your adamant assertion, it must be regarded ... Section 5.26 on page 164 A request courteously disguised as a question should not be terminated by a question mark.

What does the CMS mean by "courteously disguised as a question"? I think it must mean a sentence that when spoken doesn't have the interrogative rise at the end. Sometimes "Would someone please answer my question" is really a question and needs that final question mark to indicate rising intonation to a reader. It's not really a request, more of a plea that can be replaced by "Is(n't) anyone going to answer to my question?"
The Oxford Style Manual , Section 5.8.1, copyright 2003, is more flexible, allowing for some judgement and personal preference in ... question mark, but that is far from being support for your flat-out assertion that omitting the question mark is "wrong".

This is how I do it. I use my judgement or my judgment (whichever comes first) to decide whether it takes a "?" I usually omit it when I hear falling intonation in my head.
I agree with Mr Cunningham on this one.Sometimes it's a matter of form and sometimes a matter of substance, rather like comma placement after "Hi" and before "Liz", which is always a matter of form for me.

Franke: EFL teacher & medical editor
For email, replace numbers with English alphabet.
Show more