Too often I encounter the following kind of sentence: “I’m wondering if people could improve their grammar?”

One of my pet peeves is when people put question marks at the end of sentences beginning with “I wonder if”. I’m always left wondering if the person is wondering about whether they’re wondering. (Of course, chances are they are not, but why the question mark then?) This is an incredibly common mistake for reasons not clear to me.

To clarify: starting a sentence with “I wonder if” usually results in a statement and statements don’t come with question marks. If you want to make it a question, you can say “I wonder: how does one end this sentence?” or “I wonder, should there be a question mark at the end of this sentence?”, but “I wonder if there should be a question mark at the end of this sentence.” should not end with a question mark, unless you are asking whether it is something you’re wondering about (but frankly, most people won’t be able to help you answer that).

Really Really Bad Arguments

by John Holbo on April 9, 2009

You know me. I love ’em. The worse, the better.

Take the anti-same-sex-marriage stuff, for example. NRO has two perfect examples up right now: “The Future of Marriage”, signed by ‘the editors’. And Maggie Gallagher’s latest effort, “Married To Liberty?” [click to continue…]