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THey're perfectly grammatical and comprehemsible in my UK English . . .

Even no. 3 without "grows"?
Shortly before Christmas some years ago, I caught sight of a headline in the Daily Telegraph over someone's shoulder in the tube. It read, "Turkey imports swamp farmers". Intrigued by visions of mangroves on the lower slopes of Mt Ararat tended by immigrant peasants, I bought the paper at my destination to satisfy my curiosity. The article referred to complaints by British producers about a glut of cheap French roasting fowl in the shops.

Noel
(about omitting the question mark after a non-interrogatory "question")

But there ought to be some reason other than laziness for abandoning useful uniform rules. Oughtn't there?

It's not laziness that leads to omitting the question mark from a non-interrogative question. It's common sense. A question should ... absurd to follow it with a question mark. And it would probably be stated with the interrogatory intonation after "quiet"..

It may not be asking for information, but it's asking for compliance. Asking needs a question mark.
2. "Will someone help me find my hat" If that were intended to directly ask for information, the only answer ... it gets a question mark or not. I would prefer no question mark except after a direct request for information.

Coming from me, the example question would mean: Will (you or someone) help me find my hat? The answer would be yes, no, or variations thereof, such as: "sure," "no time, gotta go," and "do I look like your lackey?" If you simply want to get someone to start looking for the hat, you could say "Please help me find my hat."
3. "How much is half of six?" That clearly asks for information, so its need of a question mark is indisputable.

But a question needn't ask for information in order to have a question mark. It can ask for compliance or help (or understanding or love or agreement or perhaps any number of things).
It seems I'm with Liebs and Ross, eh?
Maria Conlon
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There is. Most of the time it's ignorance.

Anal-retentiveness as often. It is a good thing to know the rules of English so we know when we're breaking them, but no writer should fear the breaking of them. In two words, 'rules suck', especially when they stifle creativity and thought.

Charles, you have that backwards anal retentiveness is not a reason for abandoning useful uniform rules. You just now wrote something you didn't mean. Sure, I do admit that I figured out what you wanted to write, but hey, there are limits to stretching conventions, and sometimes it is dangerous to assume that someone means the opposite of what one says. It's that irony thing versus not-getting-it-right thing. In some professions it can cause big problems.

Skitt (in Hayward, California)
www.geocities.com/opus731/
(about omitting the question mark after a non-interrogatory "question") It's ... information, so its need of a question mark is indisputable.

Having just marked a piece of work in which the student posed many questions but included no question marks, I ... me find my hat. I can't work out why, but the "Please" seems to make the question mark less essential.

I won't comment on the question marks, although I would use them, but a comma after "please" in your two exammples is a must in my book.
Skitt (in Hayward, California)
www.geocities.com/opus731/
I see. Intriguing. That is not colloquial UK English; both ... others are still nonsense, at least in my UK English.

THey're perfectly grammatical and comprehemsible in my UK English, and require no firced usage or archaisms to become comprehensible. Of ... legerdemain of the underlying computational processes into making a mistake which reveals their existence, and something of how they work.

You are quite obviously right to leave it at that. Trying further explanation with Mikey would be useless, even if he did speak "UK English".
Still, it's a curious pastime for grownups. Even for academic grownups with absurd amounts of giggle time on their unretired hands.
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Please will you be quiet. Please will someone help me ... the "Please" seems to make the question mark less essential.

I won't comment on the question marks, although I would use them,but a comma after "please" in your two exammples is a must in my book.

Yes, but it's another case where the rule is necessary so that our readers will notice when we break it. On rare occasions, the question-form command or exclamation must be written without the question-mark to show how it should sound; in the same way, on some occasions "please" may not be followed by a comma.

I won't have people bollocksing about with my flexibility. I have, I believe, eight hammers; each is markedly different from the others for very good reasons, and their possession means I, even with my limited skills, can do things which would be impossible for somebody who had only one.

Mike.

Mike.
It seems I'm with Liebs and Ross, eh?

You could do worse.
Speaking of which, how about people who put question marks after declarative sentences? E.g., "I want to know if you will be coming home in time for dinner tonight?"
My view: Yucko!

Bob Lieblich
Solidly adamant
Hello! I would like to know Garden Path Sentence ! What does this term mean?

I think others have defined "Garden Path Sentence". I have never heard the term before, but understand that poorly written ... the speaker intends) relative pronouns have been left out. In others, dependent clause verbs get confused with the independent clauses.

I'm not sure that it really has been defined here yet. A garden path sentence is one in which the "most plausible" analysis (which is not the intended one), on a word-by-word basis, either (1) leads the reader to decide that the sentence has ended when there are still words left or (2) leads the reader to expect more words than the sentence contains. From a linguistic science point of view, they are fascinating and enlightening, because unlike the more common reanalyses that people do continually without thinking about it when their initial hypotheses turn out to be incorrect, true garden path sentences make you stop and consciously start over. They go far enough in the wrong direction that the unconscious backtracking mechanism can't recover.
Note that garden path sentences pretty much only exist in writing. In speech, there's enough clue from the timing and intonation contour that people don't get confused. Which is why it isn't really a question of "poorly written and incomplete thoughts". The writer knew what he meant, and it literally doesn't dawn on him that there's another way to read the sentence, nor that that way is going to be the more plausible. I find them in others' writing when I proofread, and others find them in mine. It's really hard to find them in your own.
Most of the time you can make a small word change to the sentence to render it immediately understandable without changing the structure at all.
1. The horse raced past the barn fell.

The horse ridden past the barn ate the most grass.
The horse ('1' that raced past the barn) fell. The horse fell. (Which horse? dependent clause, which modifies horse) the one that raced past the barn.)

2. The man who hunts ducks out on weekends.

The man who hunts ducks out on weekends (intonation with a pause : The man who hunts, ducks out/escapes from of his household, church, family responsibilities on weekends).

The man who fishes ducks out on weekends.
3. The cotton clothing is usually made of grow in Mississippi.

The cotton that clothing is usually made of (I would say "made from") grows in Mississippi (among other places).

This one's harder to recast, since any material X that Ys are made from usually leads to the plausible phrase "X Y".
4. The prime number few.

The prime numbers are few. (or, "The prime (the best) number (are counted as) few.

The rich number few.

No, it's the tycoon who was sold the tracts. This is another participle/past confusion.
The tycoon given the offshore oil tracts for a lot of money wanted to kill JR.

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THey're perfectly grammatical and comprehemsible in my UK English, and ... which reveals their existence, and something of how they work.

You are quite obviously right to leave it at that. Trying further explanation with Mikey would be useless, even if ... it's a curious pastime for grownups. Even for academic grownups with absurd amounts of giggle time on their unretired hands.

Garden path sentences are a research tool in linguistics, just as optical illusions are in vision.

Chris Malcolm (Email Removed) +44 (0)131 651 3445 DoD #205 IPAB, Informatics, JCMB, King's Buildings, Edinburgh, EH9 3JZ, UK (http://www.dai.ed.ac.uk/homes/cam/)
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