Question Mark

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But a closer look shows that this seemingly simple punctuation mark can be tricky to use and easy to misuse. Note that the quote marks at the end of "War and Peace" come before the question mark because this punctuation mark is not part of the book's title.


  1. "question mark" in American English;
  2. Question Mark | Definition of Question Mark by Merriam-Webster.
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  4. The punctuation mark ends an interrogative statement.
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In this sentence, the question mark also comes before the quote mark because it ends the interrogative sentence. Gerald J. Alred, Charles T.

What is a question mark?

Brusaw, and Walter E. If your question is a "polite request" for which you simply assume you'll get a positive response— Can you carry in the groceries, please? Using the question mark can become even more difficult, as the Merriam-Webster punctuation guide shows with this example:. The sentence itself is an indirect question: The speaker does not expect an answer.

Where is the question mark on the keyboard?

But the indirect question contains a question sentence, where the speaker is essentially quoting or announcing the listener's thoughts. Merriam-Webster provides even trickier examples:. The first sentence is also an indirect question. But the speaker does not expect an answer, so this is not an interrogative statement. Merriam-Webster also suggests that you reframe the first sentence above as a simple declarative statement, negating the need for a question mark:.

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The second sentence is also an indirect question that contains an interrogative statement. George Bernard Shaw, in "Back to Methuselah," gives a classic example of indirect questions that also contain interrogative statements or questions :. The speaker is making two statements; he does not expect an answer for either.

But, within each statement is a question—"Why? The question mark is "the engine of debates and interrogations, of mysteries, solved and secrets to be revealed, of conversations between student and teacher, of anticipation and explanation," adds Clark. Share Flipboard Email.

An Introduction to Punctuation. Don't forget to use a question mark at the end of a sentence that really is a direct question:. In very informal writing personal letter or email , people sometimes use a question mark to turn a statement into a question:. In the same situation, they may use two or three question marks together to show that they are not sure about something:. Many polite requests or instructions are made in the form of a question.

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But because they are not really questions, they do not take a question mark:. Use a question mark at the end of all direct questions: What is your name? How much money did you transfer? Did you send euro or dollars? Use a question mark after a tag question : You're French, aren't you?

Snow isn't green, is it?

QUESTION MARK | meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary

He should go and see a doctor, shouldn't he? Don't forget to use a question mark at the end of a sentence that really is a direct question: How else would I get there, after all? What if I said to you, "I don't love you any more"? In very informal writing personal letter or email , people sometimes use a question mark to turn a statement into a question: See you at 9pm?