We have the period. It ends sentences.
We have the comma. It makes pauses in our sentences, and it also allows us to catch our breath.
We also have semi-colons; they allow us to complete a fragmented thought in the same sentence.
And we have the question mark, don’t we?
Well, why can’t we have a question mark that doesn’t end a sentence? you ask.
It’s incorrect to continue a sentence with lowercase words after a question mark (as in the line above), because the sentence has already been completed. The only recourse I have is to put a question mark and a comma like this — ?, — and it really doesn’t cut it.
I propose the use of a new unit of punctuation: The Question Comma. The goal here would be to use a question mark that wouldn’t finish the thought. Ok, maybe we can work on the name. Comma Mark? Quemma? Semi-Question Mark? Leave a comment if you have any ideas.
Usage could include such examples as:
Who gave you permission?, because they must have been joking.
“Can I borrow your machete?,” he asked hopefully.
His name was… Jack?, Jake?, Josh?, and he was interning for the summer.
In all of these examples, it wouldn’t make sense to end off where the question was. Not all questions are complete thoughts. Using this as semi colon or comma for questions would be swell. Sound great, right?