The Question Mark

How do I use the question mark in written English.

 

A man ponders how to correctly use the question mark

The question:

How do I use the question mark?

The question mark (?) is used at the end of direct questions.

1. Direct questions.

  • Is this really the quickest way home?
  • What is your favourite colour?
  • Which way did she vote?

2. Indirect questions (do not use the question mark).

  • She asked him if it was really the quickest way home.
  • She asked him what is his favourite colour.
  • I wonder which way she voted.

3. Embedded questions.

  • We can get to Scotland quicker, can’t we, if we take the low road?

4. A series of questions.

If the series is related to the initial question, use the question mark after each question and start each question section with a lower case letter.

  • Which are the biggest animals? elephants? cows? or cats?

5. Rhetorical questions.

Rhetorical questions are used to make statements and are not really asked with the expectation of an answer.

  • If we don’t use punctuation properly, what’s the point?

6. Abbreviations.

If a sentence ends with a punctuated abbreviation, use the question mark.

  • Does he still work in I.T.?

7. Questions as polite requests.

Do not use the question mark after a question that is formed as a polite request.

  • Will everyone who has a priority boarding pass please move to the front of the queue.

 

Do you have any questions?

Michael Jones - Senior English Editor - bridged-jones.com

Author – Michael Jones

 

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