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Trick or Treat Punctuation!


Nothing scary for you today–just a quick punctuation challenge.

Which punctuation marks would you add to these two questions?

Who shouted, “Trick or treat”

Did the ghoul ask, “Where is the monster ball”

Think it over before comparing your punctuation to mine below. No peeking!

Friendly Halloween Photo


1. Who shouted, “Trick or treat”

The Chicago Manual of Style would punctuate this way:

Who shouted, “Trick or treat!”?

The Gregg Reference Manual would choose this:

Who shouted, “Trick or treat”?

I like Chicago’s approach, which incorporates both the exclamation and the question. Which do you prefer?


2. Both style manuals recommend:

Did the ghoul ask, “Where is the monster ball?”

A double question mark (?”?) would probably be overkill, but I like the idea of it.

Happy Halloween!!!!!!!

Syntax Training

P.S. If you want to learn which punctuation goes where–and which reference books support which marks–take my online course Punctuation for Professionals.

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By Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston has helped thousands of employees and managers improve their business writing skills and confidence through her company, Syntax Training. In her corporate training career of more than 20 years, she has worked with executives, engineers, scientists, sales staff, and many other professionals, helping them get their messages across with clarity and tact.

A gifted teacher, Lynn has led writing classes at more than 100 companies and organizations such as MasterCard, Microsoft, Boeing, Nintendo, REI, AARP, Ledcor, and Kaiser Permanente. Near her home in Seattle, Washington, she has taught managerial communications in the MBA programs of the University of Washington and UW Bothell. She has created a communications course, Business Writing That Builds Relationships, and provides the curriculum at no cost to college instructors.

A recognized expert in business writing etiquette, Lynn has been quoted in "The Wall Street Journal," "The Atlantic," "Vanity Fair," and other media.

Lynn sharpened her business writing skills at the University of Notre Dame, where she earned a master's degree in communication, and at Bradley University, with a bachelor's degree in English.

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