To question is human; to declare, divine
January 23, 2008 1:35 PM   Subscribe

"How do we get to Jupiter? And do it cheaply..."

No, this isn't chatfilter. I need punctuate the second sentence ("And do it cheaply"). As a continuation of the first sentence, it has an implied question built in ("How do we get to Jupiter cheaply?"), which would call for a question mark. But depending on how the speaker inflects, he can make "cheaply" stand out as the important aspect ("Sure we need to figure out how to get to Jupiter, but doing it cheaply is paramount."). It is very likely I've overthought this to the point that I can no longer see the obvious answer, so I need some fellow syntax soldiers to fight this battle for me.
posted by Terminal Verbosity to Writing & Language (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
How do we get to Jupiter (and do it cheaply)?
posted by chrisamiller at 1:37 PM on January 23, 2008


Unfortunately, this is a direct quote, so I can't make part two parenthetical. I also don't know if there was inflection or not, as I wasn't present when it was spoken.
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 1:41 PM on January 23, 2008


How do we get to Jupiter and do it cheaply?
posted by box at 1:46 PM on January 23, 2008


"How do we get to Jupiter? And do it cheaply?"
posted by 23skidoo at 1:47 PM on January 23, 2008


Put "and" in italics and don't worry about the rest being proper English. If it's spoken word it doesn't need to be 100% grammatically correct.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:47 PM on January 23, 2008


How do we get to Jupiter, and do it cheaply?
posted by Koko at 1:48 PM on January 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


How do we get to Jupiter? And [how do we] do it cheaply?
posted by box at 1:49 PM on January 23, 2008


Does it need to be punctuation-ally correct?

I always use ... for emphasis:

"How do we get to Jupiter...and do it cheaply?"
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 1:50 PM on January 23, 2008


It might help people help you if you include the context in which the direct quote was said.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:53 PM on January 23, 2008


How do we get to Jupiter? And do it cheaply!
posted by yeti at 1:58 PM on January 23, 2008


Seconding "How do we get to Jupiter, and do it cheaply?" If the second clause were longer, then the question mark might get lost, but since it's short and the first clause starts with a "question word" it should be clear that both are interrogatory.
posted by nicwolff at 1:59 PM on January 23, 2008


Well, the problem I was having was that, given that I only had text to go on, I couldn't know if the speaker intended the second sentence as more of an excited declaration than a continuation of his earlier question. The ellipses, of course, make the most sense, though I'd argue they simply omit extraneous words instead of providing emphasis. Context is irrelevant, btw, as this isn't the actual quote. My quote is longer and far, far more boring.

I was really hoping someone would say, "Listen, dolt. It says right here on page 62 of my MLA handbook to do this [x]." Alas, not to be. I'm pretty sure (and maybe someone can back me up on this), that the MLA does suggest exclamation marks whenever discussing extraplanetary travel.
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 2:23 PM on January 23, 2008


I don't know if the MLA handbook (or the NYT styleguide) says that ellipses in a direct quote always signify an omission. But I'm pretty confident that many people would read it that way.
posted by box at 2:28 PM on January 23, 2008


Another option:

"How do we get to Jupiter -- and do it cheaply?"
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:29 PM on January 23, 2008


Ooh, emdash, nice. Semicolon is also a possibility, I suppose.
posted by box at 2:31 PM on January 23, 2008


If you're trying to convey a particular pattern of intonation, italics are good. "How do we get to Jupiter and do it cheaply?" f'rinstance.

If you don't care about the nitty gritty details of intonation, and just want to mark a break before the second half of the sentence, I'd use an em dash.
posted by nebulawindphone at 3:14 PM on January 23, 2008


"How do we get to Jupiter? And do it cheaply..." [more inside]
posted by Terminal Verbosity to writing & language at 4:35 PM - 16 answers (16 new) [this question contains answers marked as best] +


I was shocked, shocked to read that this question had a best answer.
posted by bru at 6:36 PM on January 23, 2008


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