Question marks, how do you feel about them?

A few tips from my friends at ProofreadNOW.com

Question marks with the parenthesis
I think the water ski club is bankrupt (who can think otherwise?). The question mark is part of the parenthetical question, so it goes within the closing parenthesis. Note the terminal period outside the parenthesis.

Are we bankrupt (as these figures suggest)? The question mark is outside the parenthesis, since the whole sentence is a question; the material within the parentheses is not a question at all.

Are we bankrupt (or do these figures lie?)? is permissible — a question mark for the parenthetical question and another for the whole sentence — but the clumping of punctuation is ugly. Are we bankrupt (or do these figures lie)? is also acceptable, and preferable, if for some reason one cannot go further and eliminate the parentheses: Are we bankrupt, or do these figures lie?

The question mark with the quotation mark
They raised the question "Are we skiing in this weather?" The question mark is inside the closing quotation mark, where it logically belongs. Note that no period is used. A period cannot go outside a closing quotation mark (in American form) or directly after a question mark, so the period is just omitted.

Did they announce, "We're skiing on these whitecaps"? The question mark is outside the closing quotation mark, since the whole sentence is a question and the material within the quotation marks is not a question.

Did they ask the question "Are we skiing in this weather?"? is logical, but here logic must give way to compromise; the very ugly clumping ?"? is condemned. Some handbooks of punctuation would advise Did they ask the question, "Are we skiing in this weather?" and others would advise Did they ask the question "Are we skiing in this weather"? Still others suggest deciding each case on its own merits, which is probably the best advice. There is usually some ground for making a decision. For example, The boat driver warned, "Don't you think the spectators will ask, 'Are you all morons?'" could also be punctuated with the question mark between the single and double quotation marks — 'Are you all morons'?" — but one could argue that the former is better because Are you all morons? is a stronger question than the question it is part of.

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