Question Mark Punctuation (?): Definition, Usage, and Examples

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Question Mark Punctuation: Question mark is the kind of Punctuation that is mainly used when any kind of question is asked. It makes the writing more understandable and interesting providing the idea that a question is put up. Therefore, understanding the concepts of question marks is crucial as it is the basic part of English grammar. So, this blog highlights the correct usage of this punctuation along with definitions and examples as it changes the sentence for good.

Question Mark Punctuation Definition

A Question Mark(?) punctuation is used in interrogative sentences. They are placed at the end of the sentence where a question is asked. If the question mark is present in a sentence then we can identify that there is uncertainty in the information. The person who is asking the question is searching for a suitable answer to it. 

The direct questions are asked to the audience and indicate that the sentence written is a question. They mostly start with words such as what, who, when, why, where.


  • Why did the man cross the road?
  • Who is the person in the black suit?
  • What is the meaning of the sentence written in the book?
  • Is it possible to go there?

Also Read: How to Speak Fluent English in 30 days? [With Go-To Tips]

Uses of Question Mark Punctuation

There are several uses of Question marks in English Grammar. The detailed explanation of them is given below:-

1: The Question mark is used in putting a direct query in the interrogative sentence. It also denotes that the speaker wants the information.

For Example:-

  • When did you completely write that letter?
  • Are there any photographs for me this afternoon?

2: The Question mark can be used to convert a given statement into a question which means that the speaker is waiting for a specific reply.

For Example:-

  • She didn’t actually quit his dance classes?
  • Do you promise to come back home after vacation?

3: Use the Question Mark in the sentences ending with a question tag or a query

For Example:-

  • You didn’t find those papers, did you?
  • You found these papers, didn’t you? 

4: A question mark can be used after a direct question that is to be inserted in the statement. If the question concludes, divide it by using a comma. Question capitalization after the comma is used for maximum urgency but is seldom suggested.

For Example:-

  • His coach wondered, Was he playing well the best he could?
  • Her teacher wondered, was she performing the way he used to?

5: If the placed question comes at the start, insert the question mark in the middle part but do not capitalize the word coming after it.

For Example:-

  • Was he playing well in the best way possible? His coach wondered.
  • Was he playing the best he could? was the question.

6: When the sequence of questions is written, the question mark should be written in each case, even if they are incomplete sentences. The question item capitalization is optional so be compatible with the option to be chosen.

For Example:-

The teachers had to decide on a newly developed course of action for the college. Expand? Get Rid? Consider new rules?

6: The question mark should not used in the statements containing indirect questions that are written in the form of declarative sentences.

For Example:- 

  • His manager wondered whether he was playing the best way possible.
  • I kept asking myself how he had done it.

Also Read: Top 10 Free English Speaking Courses with Certificates

Example of Question Mark Punctuation in Sentences 

The Question mark usage varies in each sentence according to the grammar rules. They must be used properly in the sentences. Here, we will see some examples of Question marks in a sentence.

Question Mark in Direct Speech

1. When are you leaving for Chennai? asked Srikant.
2. Toni asked, Can you come with me to the theatre?
3. “Jenny is getting married?”, asked Sam.
4. Did you come by bus? asked Matt.
5. “How old are you?”, he asked.
6. The policeman said to the kid, “Where do you live?”
7. “What time does Tim arrive?” He asked.
8. John said to Peter, “Why are you so late”?
9. Why are you coming late every day? asked the teacher.
10. Where are you playing tomorrow morning? asked Brian.

Question Mark in a Direct Question

The question mark is used here to directly indicate a question, such as any kind of query that is asked by a particular person. 

1. Who is the person present there?
2. Why is he not playing well?
3. What do you think about this house?
4. When did he arrive here?
6. Why is it happening again and again?
7. Who are they referring to in the letter?
8. What is the purpose of reading this book?
9. Why it is important to read the instructions?
10. When will he arrive at the airport?
11. Who is coming to the function?

Using Question Marks at the End of Question Tags 

Here are some uses of question marks at the end of question tags:

1. He is coming to office today. Isn’t he?
2. They are playing cricket, aren’t they?
3. Mohan does not like chocolates, does he? 
4. Trevor is not attending the meeting, doesn’t he?
5. Nobody knew what happened to Arun, did they?
6. Everything was planned perfectly for the party, wasn’t it?
7. The neighbours are going on the trip, aren’t they?
8. Bring me some cookies, will you?
9. Glen is the new manager of the hotel, isn’t he?
10. All students have not submitted their homework yet, have they?

Also Read: Question Mark Upside Down: Explained in Detail

Source: Learn Easy English
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Why question mark is used in a sentence?

The question mark is mainly used to indicate that the sentence is a question. There is a query that is put up through the questions.

What are some examples of Indirect Questions?

Some examples of Indirect questions are:-
1. Can you tell when he is leaving the town?
2. When do you come from New York?
3. Can you tell me about the office timings?

What does it mean to have a question mark at the start of the sentence?

The Question mark usually indicates the ending of the direct question. It states that the next word will start from a new sentence so there is a need for capital letters. The question words such as Why, What, When, etc. are used in the start.

What makes a question mark a punctuation?

Question marks are the kind of punctuation marks that are mainly used to end an interrogative sentence. The sentence structure decides where we have to put the question mark.

This was all about the question mark punctuation usage with examples and more in grammar. Hope you understand the concept and know how to proceed. You can also follow the Learn English page of Leverage Edu for more exciting and informative blogs.

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