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Question Mark

question markquestion marks

The main function of a question mark is to indicate a question or query.

1. 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?

2. Use a question mark after a tag question:

  • You're French, aren't you?
  • Snow isn't green, is it?
  • He should go and see a doctor, shouldn't he?

3. 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"?
  • "Who knows when I'll die?", he asked rhetorically.

4. 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?

In the same situation, they may use two or three question marks together to show that they are not sure about something:

  • I think you said it would cost $10???

5. Do not use a question mark after an indirect or reported question:

  • The teacher asked them what their names were. (What are your names?)
  • John asked Mary if she loved him. (Do you love me?)
  • I'm wondering if she's coming. (Is she coming?)

6. Many polite requests or instructions are made in the form of a question. But because they are not really questions, they do not take a question mark:

  • Could you please send me your catalogue.
  • Would all first-class and business-class passengers now start boarding.

7. Be careful with titles and abbreviations when question marks are involved:

  • "Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf?" was a play before it was a film.
  • Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf? was a play before it was a film.
  • Have you seen the film "Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf?"?
  • Have you seen the film Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf??
  • Have you ever been to L.A.?

Note that there should be no space immediately before a question mark.

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