Take the 2-minute tour ×
Writers Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for authors, editors, reviewers, professional writers, and aspiring writers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

How do I express shouting in a question?

In a non-question sentence, I just put an exclamation mark at the end and/or use words like "shouted"/"yelled"/etc in the "said" tag and it feels fine. But what do you do for a question?

Example:

"How dare you?"

Should it be

"How dare you?!"

or

"How dare you!"

or something else?

share|improve this question

2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

I'm averse to all caps in general and italics as emphasis. There is a reason why some publishers expect manuscript submission in plain text. You need italics only if you give the title of a book or words in a foreign language, i.e. in literary writing all mark-up is formal, not prosodic.

If you want to show that direct speech is being shouted, you can say so, or use an exclamation mark:

  1. "Where is she?" John shouted and grabbed the front of my shirt.
  2. John grabbed the front of my shirt. "Where is she!"

Sentence structure makes it clear that the second version is a question, so a question mark is not necessary.

I prefer the second version over the first because of show-don't-tell.

3 . John looked at me confused. "Where is she?!"

I understand the third version to mean that the speaker is surprised and not necessarily speaking very loud, while the second version means he is shouting.

share|improve this answer
1  
Combining ?! is allowed; it just conveys a specific combination of emotions. –  Lauren Ipsum Mar 5 at 12:14
1  
@LaurenIpsum You are right, Lauren, and I corrected my answer. –  what Mar 5 at 12:23
1  
I also prefer not using caps/italics for emphasis. I still upvoted the other answer as it's also a perfectly valid answer for my question, as I didn't specify that I don't like caps/italics. –  Kornél Regius Mar 5 at 12:36
1  
Fair enough, @KornélRegius :-) And since I fine tuned my answer with the help of Lauren, it is most fitting that she receive some reputation as well. –  what Mar 5 at 12:39
    
@what thank you. :) –  Lauren Ipsum Mar 5 at 14:09

Your particular issue is that this is a rhetorical question. A real question is "Where is she?" or "How do I defuse the bomb?"

You can use italics, caps, and maybe bold, depending on what else you've used that formatting for. The ?! construction connotes a particular emotion, so I wouldn't throw it in for decoration.

Batman slammed the Joker up against the wall. "WHERE IS SHE?" he roared.


Sherlock looked up at John, frantic. "How do I defuse the bomb?"
"I don't know!"
"As you keep reminding everyone, you were a solider!"
John flailed his hands. "I'm a doctor! I wasn't in bomb disposal!"

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.