Question Mark … or Comma?

Periodically, I work as a copyeditor. Sometimes my job is closer to a tutor, sometimes to a full editor, but a question I hardly ever encounter is whether something should be a comma or a question mark.

I run into it aaalll fall as a butterfly photographer. Both commas and question marks prefer woody areas, both can be erratic flyers. The comma and the question mark both rest with their wings upright and strongly resemble dead leaves. If you didn’t know you were looking at a butterfly, the picture below would just look like another raggedy old leaf, an early victim of approaching fall.


I couldn’t get very close to this one, which is hardly surprising. Unless they are puddling, I’ve found commas and question marks to be twitchy, despite that wonderful camouflage they’re rocking. I couldn’t help trying anyway. And for one instant, it opened its wings – a dead leaf in the middle of a frisbee golf course transforming to an vital iridescent copper flame.



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