Question Mark - Where, When and How to Use It in a Sentence?

Using the right punctuation is what will make your writing look perfect and also make it meaningful and understandable. Among the various punctuation marks, the question mark is the only one used to indicate a question. Learn more about how and where question marks can be used in sentences. Check out the topics given below.

A Question Mark – Meaning and Definition

A question mark is a symbol used to punctuate interrogative sentences and at the end of question tags. Just by seeing a question mark used at the end of a sentence or after a phrase, you will be able to identify that there is something uncertain about the mentioned information and that whoever is asking the question is seeking for an answer regarding the same.

According to the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, a question mark is defined as a punctuation mark that is “used to say that something is not certain.” According to the Cambridge Dictionary, “the symbol ? is used in writing at the end of a phrase or sentence to show that it is a question.” A question mark is defined as “a mark ? used in writing and printing at the conclusion of a sentence to indicate a direct question”, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. The Collins Dictionary defines a question mark as “the punctuation mark ? which is used in writing at the end of a question.”

When and Where to Use a Question Mark?

Being a part of a very technologically advanced era, you would be constantly exposed to the most trending usages in the English language. The usage of multiple question marks in order to stress something (for eg: What really happened???) when sending personal messages is one of the various trends in online texting language. This is, however, not the case with professional writing.

The standard use of question marks in professional writing can be as follows:

  • A question mark can be used at the end of interrogative sentences/direct questions which are meant to enquire about something to somebody
  • A question mark can be used with sentences containing question tags.
  • A question mark can be used to turn a normal statement into a question, in informal writing.
  • If a previously asked question is reported in indirect speech, a question mark should not be used.

Examples of Sentences Using a Question Mark

Let us take a look at a few examples to see how the question mark can be used in different scenarios.

Use of Question Mark at the End of a Direct Question

  • When will you reach?
  • What are your plans for tomorrow evening?
  • Who is that man?
  • When do you intend on telling your parents about this?
  • Why do you think it is taking this long?

Use of Question Mark at the End of Question Tags

  • He is coming home today, isn’t he?
  • They are not working on the same topic, are they?
  • Susan will not be attending the workshop, will she?
  • Suresh does not like sweets, does he?
  • You are an Indian, aren’t you?

Use of Question Mark in Direct Speech

  • My mom asked, “Has KRK been released on OTT?”
  • “When are you leaving for Bangalore?” asked Sheena.
  • Tharun asked, “Can you come with me to the clinic?”
  • Vishnu said, “They are all joining us for dinner, right?”
  • “Ashish is getting married?”, asked Varsha.

Check Your Understanding on Using Question Marks

Use question marks where required in the following sentences:

1. How did you do this

2. You are still going to the gym, right

3. Do you like cool drinks

4. Is she the one who won the gold medal for the marathon

5. Would you prefer pasta or momos

6. You do not like bitter gourd, do you

7. Can you finish the repair in two days

8. Preetha said, “Haven’t you seen this earring before”

9. Won’t you find it difficult to travel continuously

10. Are you happy now

Find out if you have added question marks in the right places from the answers given below.

1. How did you do this?

2. You are still going to the gym, right?

3. Do you like cool drinks?

4. Is she the one who won the gold medal for the marathon?

5. Would you prefer pasta or momos?

6. You do not like bitter gourd, do you?

7. Can you finish the repair in two days?

8. Preetha said, “Haven’t you seen this earring before?”

9. Won’t you find it difficult to travel continuously?

10. Are you happy now?

Frequently Asked Questions on the Usage of Question Marks

What is a question mark?

A question mark is a symbol used to punctuate interrogative sentences and at the end of question tags.

What is the definition of a question mark?

According to the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, a question mark is defined as a punctuation mark that is “used to say that something is not certain.” According to the Cambridge Dictionary, “the symbol ? used in writing at the end of a phrase or sentence to show that it is a question.” A question mark is defined as “a mark ? used in writing and printing at the conclusion of a sentence to indicate a direct question”, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. The Collins Dictionary defines a question mark as “the punctuation mark ? which is used in writing at the end of a question.”

What are the uses of a question mark?

A question mark can be used,

  • At the end of interrogative sentences/direct questions
  • At the end of sentences containing question tags
  • To turn a normal statement into a question, in informal writing

Give some examples of sentences using a question mark.

Here are a few examples of sentences using a question mark for your reference.

  • When do you intend on telling your parents about this?
  • Why do you think it is taking this long?
  • Tharun asked, “Can you come with me to the clinic?”
  • Vishnu said, “They are all joining us for dinner, right?”
  • Susan will not be attending the workshop, will she?
  • He is coming home today, isn’t he?

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