Question Marks

A question mark is used at the end of any sentence that is a question. So, like, in this sentence. Don’t hesitate to also check our 236 free and powerful practice tests

The next lesson: Quotation Marks, both lessons are included in Practice Tests.

The following transcript is provided for your convenience.

It says:

Where are we?”

This is a question, so there’s a question mark at the end of the sentence.

Question marks are also used in quotations that ask a question.

So, right here, it says:

Is dinner at 6 p.m.?”

So, there’s a question mark at the end of the quotation, because the speaker is asking a question.

Notice though that there’s not a question mark at the end of the sentence. There’s just a period. That’s because the writer of this sentence is not asking a question.

Is dinner at 6 p.m.?” he asked.

Is not a question. But, “Is dinner at 6 p.m.?”, well, that is a question. So, that’s why the question mark only applies to the words inside the quotation marks.

Also notice right here that 6 p.m. ends with a period because it’s an abbreviation. Even though there’s a period right there, you still use a question mark right next to the period.

You probably noticed that in quotations that declare something, you just put a comma at the end. So, if this was a declarative sentence, we would just leave it as a period. But, since it’s asking a question, we use a quotation mark.

Now, this next sentence is an example of when not to use a question mark. It says:

The officer asked why I was speeding.”

This is what we call an indirect question because although the sentence is talking about a time that someone was asked a question, this sentence right here is not a question. So, a period is just used.

This sentence says:

We will leave at 7 p.m., won’t we?”

So, “We will leave at 7 p.m.” is a declarative sentence, so it would just end in a period. But, since “won’t we?” is added to the end, it becomes a question. So, that’s why we need a question mark at the end.

This final sentence says:

Will everyone please give their full attention to the speaker.”

So, notice that this sentence ends in a period, even though this sentence technically is a question because the speaker of this sentence is saying “please give your attention to the speaker“.

However, this is more of a formal request. The speaker of this sentence is not asking for a response. We’re not saying, “Will you please be quiet?”, and people are going to say, “Yes, we will be quiet.” It’s more of a formal way of saying, “Be quiet, because the speaker is talking.”

So, in formal requests, especially long formal requests, a period is used at the end of a sentence instead of a question mark.

So, the important thing to remember is that question marks are just used at the end of any sentence that is a question.

Practice tests help you remember. Take this mini-test to solidify your memory.

Mini-test: Question Marks 

1. Which answer shows the correct use of a question mark?
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B.  
C.  
D.  
2. Which sentence needs a question mark to make it correct?
A.  
B.  
C.  
D.  

 

The next lesson: Quotation Marks, both lessons are included in Practice Tests.

question-marks




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