Have you ever wondered when to use a question mark? There are two main times when writing English that a question mark is used.
The use of a Question Mark at the End of a Question
A question mark is used at the end of a sentence that is asking something. This may be directed to the reader or in the third-party context.
- When is the bus due?
- When did you last study at a university?
- When was the last time you visited writecorrectly.com?
- How do you paint an internal wall?
- What is your favorite word?
A question mark denotes the end of a sentence and so a full stop is not needed after a question mark. This is unless the sentence with the question mark is a quote within another sentence.
Questions can also be used in a third-party context.
- The man on the bus asked me ‘How many more stops are there before we arrive in San Francisco?’ I answered him that I thought that there are 7 more stops and that we should arrive in 50 minutes’ time.
- A common question that the visitors to this hotel ask is ‘Does my room have a sea view?
A Question Marked used to Express an Unknown
A question mark can be used to denote that the sentence or phrase before it is something that is not known to the writer, but the sentence itself is not a direct question.
- Another passenger on the bus stated that there were 14 stops until we reached San Fransisco?
Here the question mark is used to portray to the reader that the writer is unsure of the details in the sentence, sometimes this can indicate that the writer is trying to convey an element of mistrust for the person making the statement, or even that there is a level of confusion during the discussion. This use of a question mark is less common.
The word ‘question mark’, rather than the symbol ? can be used in a sentence.
- There is a question mark over the building being completed on time.
Here an element of uncertainty is conveyed.
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