Question Mark

The question mark ( ? )

The question mark [ ? ] (also known as interrogation pointquery, or eroteme in journalism) is a punctuation mark that indicates an interrogative clause or phrase in many languages. The question mark is not used for indirect questions.

The question mark marks the end of a question.

  • When will we be arriving?
  • Why did you do that?
  • Does any of this matter?
  • He’s certain to be elected, isn’t he?

Question marks are used in direct questions, i.e. when the actual words of a speaker are used. A reported question should end with a full stop.

  • The lady said, ‘Where are you going?
  • The lady asked where she was going.

Note that you put a question mark at the end of a question, even if the words in the sentence are not in the normal question order, or some words are omitted. Care is needed here as such a sentence can look, at first sight, like a statement rather than a question.

  • You know he doesn’t live here any longer?

A full stop, rather than a question mark, is used after an indirect question.

  • I’d like to know what you’ve been doing all this time.
  • I wonder what’s happened.

A full stop also replaces a question mark at the end of a sentence which looks like a question if, in fact, it is really a polite request.

  • Will you please return the completed forms to me.
  • Would you please call my brother and ask him to collect my car.
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