Introduction and question

Dennis R. Preston preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU
Fri Dec 3 12:09:52 UTC 1999

Here's a rule for you:

Locutionary acts guide formal punctuation; illocutionary acts guide
informal punctuation, and, as we know from emoticons and the like,
perlocutionary acts guide casual punctuation.


>On Thu, 2 Dec 1999, Grant Barrett wrote:
>}On Thursday, December 2, 1999, Rebecca Meyer <meyerr at MAIL.SDSU.EDU> wrote:
>} The sentence under attack was structured exactly like a
>}>tag question, but without the question mark (e.g., "You're a real
>}>moron, aren't you.").
>}Sounds like justification after the fact, to me. This particular mistake
>}(as I believe it to be) is one of the warning signs that indicate when to
>}distrust content.
>Personally, I distinguish the "aren't you" question vs. statement by my
>choice of punctuation.  At least in informal writing.  The question mark
>to me indicates a rising intonation, which those tag questions often don't
>have.  This has been a concious decision, rather than a mistake and
>post-hoc justification.
>As for this being a new, "official" treatment of tag questions... I don't
>know.  However, in formal writing, I would always use a question mark.
>Aaron E. Drews                               The University of Edinburgh
>aaron at                  Departments of English Language and
>       Theoretical & Applied  Linguistics
>        --Death

Dennis R. Preston
Department of Linguistics and Languages
Michigan State University
East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA
preston at
Office: (517)353-0740
Fax: (517)432-2736

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