Wednesday, March 25, 2015

punctuating "I wonder"

When you start a sentence with "I wonder," you're making a declaration about your state of mind. Because it's a declaration, it's a not a question, so don't use a question mark.

WRONG: I wonder how he is?
RIGHT: I wonder how he is.

Think of it this way:

JACK: Is there a God?
JILL: I wonder.
JACK: You wonder what?
JILL: I wonder whether there's a God, silly.

Jill's just declaring her state of mind. It would have made no sense to punctuate either of her lines with a question mark.



SJHoneywell said...

Aside from cases where it is done via inflection, English word order always takes over. Absent one of the "question" words, declarative statements have the subject before the verb and questions have the verb before the subject.

I (subject) wonder (verb) equates to a declarative structure.

Kevin Kim said...

Most excellent.