Question Mark

What do the words “What,” “Why,” “Where,” “How,” “Who” have all in common? Of course, these are interrogative words or more precise questions. These words are mostly used to build a question. But most importantly, they all end with a question mark (?) punctuation. In many sentences, the question mark punctuation is usually the widely used punctuation which is used after the full stop mark or period punctuation sign. It provides a clear indication of the use of interrogative clauses or phrases in many languages.


Let us learn this in detail.


What is Question Mark?

Question marks are generally used to end all the direct questions according to the rules of English grammar. For instance:

  • What is your name?

  • Why do you need a calculator?

  • Where are you going?

  • Who is the president of India?

Rules for Using the Question Mark

Now let’s understand some of the ideas about using question marks. Most people use the humble question mark in almost all writing forms—fiction, non-fiction, reports, academic, or even personal writing. Usually, the sentence that ends with a question mark is known as interrogative Sentences. Here the penalty is interrogative, so it happened here.


Indirect Questions

Always avoid using question mark indirect questions. Now, what are indirect questions? Complete statements that contain a hint of a query are indirect questions. And it would be best if you did not use the question mark for such statements. 

For instance:

I wonder if Radhika will come with me to the concert?

According to the grammar rule, the sentence should be, I wonder if Radhika will come with me to the concert.


Rhetorical and Tag Questions

Proceeding forward, the question marks can also be used for the rhetoric questions. Rhetoric questions are questions that do not have an answer or may not require an explanation. For instance:

  • Won’t you just give me a break?

  • Wasn’t that rafting experience fantastic?

The main rule to identify or write a rhetoric sentence is first to know if it has a negative form or not. This does not mean that your intent is malicious. Your purpose may be positive; it is just that the question uses a negative way. Rhetoric questions not always required question marks necessarily. But according to the demand and the rule, you can use a question mark.

The same logic works for a tag question. For example:

She’s so pretty, isn’t she?


Quotation Marks

If a question is a part of a quote, but the question mark inside the quotation marks. You can quickly put the quotation mark outside if it is not part of the Quote. For Example

Abhishek asked,” will you come to the meeting”?

In the example above, the question mark punctuation will come inside the quotes because “Will you come with me to the concert?” It is a total question and a fragment of the quote. Let’s see another example.

Do you agree with Henry Ford’s famous quote, “Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently”?

In this example, the question mark will be outside the quotes because it is not part of the quote. The actual question that comes here is, Do you agree with henry fords famous Quote?


The Question Mark as a Comma

 Now let’s check some of the exciting certitude about the question mark. As mentioned earlier, the function of a question mark is to indicate a question. Although the question mark mostly signifies questions, it can even replace a comma in some rare cases. Let us see an example.

“Where did you put Rohan’s book? And where is Rohan, by the way?” asked Neha.

Here questions used in the sentence.

This frequently occurs when we usually write a dialogue. As per the grammar rules, you can use the question mark to separate multiple questions within a sentence. This rule is also applicable when smaller phrases or options are used as follow-up questions within a larger problem. For instance:

Who is responsible for this bridge incident? The municipality? the monsoon? or the pedestrian traffic?

How to use a question mark?

A question mark is generally used at the end of the sentence. Sometimes it also does not look good when using after other marks, but the question mark is used.

Exp: Abhisek told you what!?

There is an exciting form of a question mark, which makes a normal sentence to question form.

Exp: They are not going to perform very well, are they?

Vishnu finished work on time, didn’t he?

Abhi did an excellent job, didn’t he?

A particular type of question mark is there. It is used when a question finishes with an abbreviation.

Did he not stay in New Delhi?

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

 Question: What are Some Sample Questions that Can Confuse While Answering?

Ans: While it may feel the chapter is easy for an average student, he/she needs to clearly understand the rules of punctuation to answer some tricky questions that may come in exams. Let us know this scenario by taking a small example.


Choose the sentence which is grammatically correct from the following options:

  • Ram wonders if he would go with him?

  • Ram wonders if Sita would go with him.

  • Ram wonders if Sita would go with him.

Here, the option ‘a’ presents us with an indirect question along with a question mark at the end, which should be avoided. Hence the sentence is not grammatically correct. Option ‘b’ seems accurate at first sight, but we find that there is unnecessary punctuation after ‘wonder.’ option ‘c’ is correct as it avoids unwanted punctuation marks.

Question: What is the Difficulty Level of Questions from this Chapter that are Asked in Examinations?

Ans: A common question that comes to mind of students when they look for questions to test themselves is the difficulty level of this chapter’s questions. Most of the questions from this chapter are of easy to moderate difficulty level. Questions can come in the form of error detection or sentence correction. These questions can be mastered by going through our chapter notes and solving the problems that follow.

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