The title of my question probably isn't great, but I can't think of the wording to describe my question; what I'm referring to is when I see things like this:

Blah blah ?

Instead of:

Blah blah?

It's usually question marks I see this with, but sometimes I see the same with colons or ellipses, such as:

Blah : blah

Instead of:

Blah: blah

Firstly, is this a nationality thing or something, like how in the UK/America we might type "haha" to represent laughter, whereas in certain latino countries (I'm not sure which; this is based on an old co-worker of mine) they would type "jaja"? Or is this actually just me incorrectly believing that what I want to edit it to is "right" and the other way is "wrong"? If so, that might inform my real question:

Should I edit these spaces out when I see them?

Obviously these aren't important edits and I should probably only do so where there are other things to edit in such a post. But if I'm already editing something, and I see this, am I right to "correct" it?

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Related: What's wrong with my quotation marks and apostrophes? - this is the kind of thing I don't want to end up on the wrong side of, hence my question. \$\endgroup\$
    – NathanS
    Commented Sep 17, 2019 at 15:50
  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ Interesting and related (as far as strictly the language aspect): Is it ever correct to have a space before a question or exclamation mark? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 17, 2019 at 16:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Rubiksmoose Thanks, that clears up some of my additional questions; looks like I'm not wrong to consider it incorrect English. \$\endgroup\$
    – NathanS
    Commented Sep 17, 2019 at 18:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Good question, but probably better on Meta.SE rather than RPG.Meta. \$\endgroup\$
    – CJ Dennis
    Commented Sep 23, 2019 at 2:45

1 Answer 1


This is a thing with some languages that aren’t English. Most languages have their own punctuation rules to follow. (French, for one example, mandates a non-breaking space before most punctuation other than periods and commas; for another, Polish mandates a comma in places that English forbids a comma.)

English has its own rules for punctuation. And unfortunately, it’s very hard to type a non-breaking space, so people don’t. Our mobile readers (including me) often see these kinds of spaced question marks and colons split onto a separate line from what they’re punctuating.

Since we’re writing in English, we should treat non-English punctuation rules as minor things to improve on, at the level of readability and polish, the same way we would remove German Capitals on every Noun, or replace «guillemets» with “quotation marks”. That is, we should leave it be unless it’s worth editing for major readability issues, and/or during a more substantial edit, and/or when a new post is already being actively edited and it wouldn’t be disruptive to contribute a just-polishing edit.


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