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Which Punctuation Mark Should be at the End of this Sentence? Options
Epiphileon
Posted: Thursday, June 28, 2018 4:00:46 AM

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Well not that one obviously the one below.
The question that needs to be asked is why we tend to not think this explanation is sufficient

I think it is a period, but question that.

Question authority. How do you know, that you know, what you know?
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Thursday, June 28, 2018 4:39:18 AM

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I agree - I think it should be a full stop, as the whole sentence is a statement, not a question.

Personally, just 'to be sure to be sure', I'd change it slightly:

The question which needs to be asked is "Why do we tend to think this explanation isn't sufficient?"


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
BobShilling
Posted: Thursday, June 28, 2018 5:50:10 AM
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Direct question: Why do we tend to not think this explanation is sufficient?
Indirect question: The question that needs to be asked is why we tend to not think this explanation is sufficient.

The indirect question is inside a statement.

ps (later). Sorry. I did not spot Drag0's (correct) response.
BobShilling
Posted: Thursday, June 28, 2018 5:53:39 AM
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By the way, an indirect question can be inside a direct question: Can I ask you why we tend to not think this explanation is sufficient?
Epiphileon
Posted: Thursday, June 28, 2018 5:57:59 AM

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Thanks guys!

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Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Thursday, June 28, 2018 7:45:51 AM

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BobShilling wrote:
By the way, an indirect question can be inside a direct question: Can I ask you why we tend to not think this explanation is sufficient?

Or maybe one could have a direct question inside and indirect question inside a direct question . . .

'Did you know that the real question which should be asked is "What is the meaning of life?", without any doubt,?'

To mis-quote Fowler - when the choice comes down to 'ugly correctness' or 'incorrect beauty', it's time to re-word the sentence!

Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
NKM
Posted: Thursday, June 28, 2018 4:29:45 PM

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As a rule I have nothing against the splitting of infinitives, but this ("… why we tend to not think this explanation is sufficient") seems egregiously awkward even to me. I suppose it bothered me just because there are so many better (more graceful) ways the sentence could be worded.

Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Friday, June 29, 2018 2:42:07 AM

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Yes - there are occasions when the "negative infinitive" (to not do) and the "negated infinitive" (not to do) mean different things - I think these are usually with verbs of desire or intention, particularly on the rare occasions in which a double negative is actually needed, to make sense.

My plan is not to not work, but I'd like to have a few days working at home.
The other way sounds very awkward:
My plan is not not to work, but I'd like to have a few days working at home.

My idea is to not work hard. - a specific purpose to refrain from working hard.
My idea is not to work hard. - No specific plan to work hard, but no plan to refrain from it either.

Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
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