I want to ask;

What are the first 3 question marks on your head while you enter into a store for the first time?

Is this sentence correct grammatically?
Isn't it clumsy or wordy? Is there a better way to say it?

  • 2
    Shouldn’t it be enter a store, or enter the store, without “into”? – Lucian Sava Feb 6 '14 at 10:58
  • @LucianSava I have no idea! – Omid Feb 6 '14 at 11:08
  • 3
    You enter a store. You do not enter into it. The rest is grammatical, but very weird. Specifically, the "the first three question marks on your head" part is outright comical. You do not want to be using that. – ЯegDwight Feb 6 '14 at 11:12
  • 2
    What are the first 3 things you think about when entering a store for the first time. – CSharper Feb 6 '14 at 16:48
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    A question mark is a printed piece of punctuation "?". You might have three questions on your mind, you might spontaneously think of more off the top of your head, but you do not have question marks on your head. – swbarnes2 Feb 6 '14 at 19:09

A Google Ngram (link) shows that "questions you (may/might) have" is more common than the idiomatic "questions on your mind" by at least an order of magnitude. And I think the former is more neutral and natural.

Below are two examples, showing how different phrasing leads to different answers. This first example uses "things you want to know" as another way to write this concept:

VARIATION #1: "What are the three most important things you want to know when you visit a new store?"

  • "three most important" - Focus is on importance rather than time.
  • "you want to know" - Focus is on the knowledge desired.
  • "when you visit" - This diminishes the focus of exact timing; the answer may be before, during, or after entering.

Typical answers might be:

  • "The location of the store (directions)"
  • "The quality of the merchandise."
  • "The price of the merchandise."

Now suppose you are creating a more focused (perhaps psychological) questionnaire, and you want people to provide questions that they believe might occur spontaneously upon entering a store:

VARIATION #2: "Name the first three questions you might have the moment you enter a store for the first time."

  • "Name" - I used the action verb, "name" instead of the question, "what are" because the answer to "what are" implies there's a factual answer rather than the creative answer we are seeking. This reduces cognitive dissonance (i.e. confusion; more on this later). This is subtle!
  • "the first three questions" - This focuses the reader on immediacy of questions. (I think if people are forced to make quick decisions or consider immediate concerns, they will tend to choose safety issues.)
  • "you might have" - People don't have three literal questions in mind at the moment they enter stores, and asking too matter-of-factly could create cognitive dissonance: they might wonder if they understand the question correctly. The phrase "you might have" anticipates the reader's thinking and suggests a creative mindset. Compare to, "What are the first three questions you have when..." and the person thinks, "Huh? I have three questions each time?"
  • "the moment you enter" - Focuses the reader to consider the time as exactly the moment of entry.

Typical answers might be:

  • "How is the store layout organized?"
  • "Does anyone in the store look dangerous?"
  • "Which way do I want to go first?"
| improve this answer | |

It is a little clumsy, and you have a prepositional error ("in" not "on"). I would argue that it's better to have questions "on your mind" rather than "in your head". Also, is it "while" entering or "when" you enter. "While" describes the exact moment, while "when" is a little more general. "As" would also be a good option. Try this:

What are the first 3 questions on your mind when you enter a store (AmE) / shop (BrE) for the first time?

You could also consider replacing "first" with "top" or "most important", which better express the ordering of questions in terms of importance.

| improve this answer | |
  • What do AmE & BrE mean? – Omid Feb 6 '14 at 12:19
  • 2
    American English & British English – user3125280 Feb 6 '14 at 12:31

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