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  #1  
Old 09-25-2008, 03:01 PM
batsto batsto is offline
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Guess what? (grammar question)

Whenever someone says "guess what", it sounds to me like they are asking a question. I know I've seen it in print that way in dialogue, as in "Guess what?"
But yesterday my daughter, in the 4th grade, was corrected by her teacher for using the question mark. She said it's an imperative sentence and should have a period, which I suppose technically makes sense, but I'm curious because it doesn't look right to me. What do you guys think? It seems to me when I say "guess what?", I'm not so much telling you to guess, but rather asking if you are able to guess. Or am I way off on this?
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  #2  
Old 09-25-2008, 03:04 PM
Earl Snake-Hips Tucker Earl Snake-Hips Tucker is offline
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Here's a similar take. I understand the technical point, but also agree that it just looks strange.
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Old 09-25-2008, 03:18 PM
batsto batsto is offline
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thanks for the link, but I disagree with its assertion that "guess what" starts flat and stays there. I think when I've heard, and used, that expression, there is a often a definite interrogative sound to the way it is used. It's often used with a certain measure of shock or surprise, as well.
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Old 09-25-2008, 03:31 PM
bordelond bordelond is offline
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It's all about context -- there is no covering rule that can be applied here in all situations. It's much like the following:

  • "It's raining."
  • "It's raining?
  • "It's raining!"
  • "It's raining ..."


We can all think of situations and speech patterns in which each of the four examples above make sense.

Last edited by bordelond; 09-25-2008 at 03:32 PM..
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  #5  
Old 09-25-2008, 03:45 PM
Colophon Colophon is offline
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Strictly speaking, yes, the teacher is right - you're telling somebody to guess what's up.

But I would probably have written it with a question mark, too, until you made me think about it logically.
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Old 09-25-2008, 04:04 PM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colophon View Post
Strictly speaking, yes, the teacher is right - you're telling somebody to guess what's up.
I think this is one of those cases where the specific convention totally trumps the general convention, though (ie., everybody writes "guess what?" with a questionmark, and will continue to do so)
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  #7  
Old 09-25-2008, 04:46 PM
Dreamy B Dreamy B is offline
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Guess what?

Chicken Butt

You know someone was going to do it...
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