Hello! Welcome to Grammar Tip Tuesday, where I bring you a (hopefully) helpful grammar tip so that you can be smarter than everyone else.
Today’s tip will be short and sweet and concerns a personal pet peeve of mine: double punctuation.
Example: “You mean you’re breaking up with me?!”
Note the use of an exclamation point and a question mark at the end of this sentence. While this might (read: MIGHT) be acceptable if you’re, say, writing an informal email or text to a friend, the double punctuation marks here should not be used in formal writing such as a book or paper.
I understand the idea behind doing this, because a sentence such as the example above is a question but is also intended to be read with a degree of surprise, shock, and/or excitement. But this is not grammatically correct, and when I’m editing I remove the second punctuation mark every time. Usually it’s best to stick with the question mark if the sentence is a question. Then, just let the context add an invisible exclamation point.
See also this interesting article from the Subversive Copy Editor Blog.
*Do you agree with me, or do you think the use of double punctuation marks is acceptable?