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Question Mark (?) With Examples

A question is a crucial symbol in English that is used at the end of the sentence to indicate it is an interrogative sentence and requires a response or feedback from the listener or reader. It is usually denoted by a curved line with a dot underneath it and is written as “?” and is considered a punctuation mark for direct questions or inquiries.

A question mark (?) is a symbol that can manipulate the tone of a sentence in a way that corresponds to curiosity, doubt, surprise, or even sarcasm. A Direct question when it is ended with the symbol question mark (?) requires a response from the reader in a conversation or dialogue that is being carried out, which could open a route to further dialogue or information.

Use Cases of Question Mark (?)

A question has many use cases such as,

Direct Question

A question mark (?) in English is most commonly used after a sentence that is a direct question.

Are you driving the car?

Will you be going to college tomorrow?

Tag Based question

These are special units of sentence that are integrated after a sentence. 

You are coming, aren’t you?

It’s a beautiful day, isn’t it?

For Uncertainty 

The symbol of question mark is also used to display the tone of uncertainty in a sentence.

Could it be that the package got lost in the mail?

Could it be true that she’s moving to a different country?

In case of doubt

Another major use case of this punctuation mark in a sentence is usually when the reader is having second thoughts or doubts. A question mark (?) in these sorts of sentences sets a tone that ensures that the dialogue is open to discussion or should be filled in so that it can be completed. 

Should we order dessert, or…?

Are you coming with us, or…?

Headlines

A question is also used where the writer wants to captivate the attention of the reader in the form of displaying doubt that might be open to interpretation without saying much.

What’s the Best Way to Lose Weight? Discover the Secrets Now

What Will the Common Man Do for the Hiked Prices? 

Rhetorical Questions

These are the sort of specialized sentences that don’t really warrant a response but are stated to make a point or display a sense of belief in shock or awe. It can also be stated to make a unit of statement have more grounds than it is supposed to be.

Is it really worth it?

Do you think money grows on trees?

Alternative Meaning Format

Sentences that act as a direct question, however, have meaning that may not follow the context it is being said. Such alternating context might imply an assumption, express disappointment, or show signs of shock or surprise

That’s the best you could do?

You’re not going to eat all of that, are you?

Where A Question mark (?) should not be used?

There are many instances where a question mark (?) symbol or punctuation cannot be used as it deems the syntax of the sentence incorrect. 

  • A Question Mark (?) shouldn’t be used at the end of a statement that doesn’t require an answer in return, these sentences are usually termed declarative sentences and often end with a full stop or a period (.)
  • Commands must always end with a full stop or period, rather than a question mark (?) otherwise it could nullify the tone of the command.
  • An abbreviation doesn’t require the symbol or punctuation of the question mark i.e. Dr or Mr.
  • An indirect question doesn’t require a question mark to be inserted at the end of the sentence.
  • It should never be used in conjunction with another punctuation mark such as a full stop or comma.

Can a Question mark used twice in a row?

Using a Question mark (?) twice in a row triggers a typographical error and shouldn’t be used as one punctuation mark is more than sufficient, especially in formal writing.

Can a question mark be used with an exclamation mark?

Yes, using a question mark (?) adjacent to the exclamation mark (!) is valid in exclamatory sentences and is considered an interrobang which holds the value of an exclamatory tone. An example of such a case includes “You did what?” or What were you thinking?

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