What is a question mark? What is (?) called? Learn how and when to use question mark in English with example sentences, punctuation rules and question mark images.
When to Use a Question Mark
The question mark (?) is an important part of the English language and was developed sometime around the 18th Century. We use a question mark (?) after an interrogative sentence in English. Many people use it incorrectly or don’t use it when required.
Here we are going to explain how and when to use the question mark (?) in English.
We use question mark to end a direct question.
Question marks end all direct questions in English.
- Have you seen the film yet?
- What are you doing?
- What is this?
- Are you happy?
- Is this your house?
- How much does it cost?
- Where do we go?
- Who is that girl?
- Do you like coffee?
When you are changing a question from direct speech into indirect speech, you end the sentence with a full stop, not a question mark. Thus, don’t use a question mark at the end of a question in reported speech.
- She asked, “Where did he stay?”
- “Have you got a computer?“
- She asked me where he had stayed. (Correct)
- She asked me where he had stayed? (Incorrect)
- He wanted to know whether I had a computer. (Correct)
- He wanted to know whether I had a computer?. (Incorrect)
We use question marks to express uncertainty.
- You don’t know him? He’s your neighborhood.
- He is sick? I saw him going out this morning.
- John was born in 1988 (?).
We use question mark to end a tag question.
Question tags are used at the end of statements to ask for confirmation.
- We have never seen that, have we?
- They’re not doing very well, are they?
- He finished on time, didn’t he?
- I’m intelligent, aren’t I?
- There weren’t any problems when you talked to Jack, were there?
We use question marks in a series of questions.
- Is it good in form? style? meaning?
- He’s been hospitalized? Why didn’t you tell me? Is he better now?