Punctuation marks: How to use the QUESTION MARK
The interrogation mark ( ? ) is the point that asks questions. Also commonly referred to as the question mark, writers use it less frequently than the period, semicolon, or dash. Writers use the question mark for the sake of paragraph suspension and interrogative emphasis. The question mark is essentially an appeal to the reader.
The question mark terminates every query. It is also used to indicate any reasonable doubt as to a fact, date, or quotation; but you should restrict its use to indicate an attempt at wit, irony, or sarcasm.
Always place the interrogation point outside quotation marks unless it is a part of the quotation itself.
Rules for to Use the Interrogation Point
1) The interrogation point is used at the end of every direct question when an answer is expected or involved.
EX. Are you there?
EX. Do you see him?
EX. Can you speak louder?
EX. Will you go to the lecture this evening?
2) Indirect questionsstatements that ask a questiondo not require the interrogation mark.
EX. He asked me if I was there.
EX. He asked the question, Are you there? and received no answer.
EX. He asked me if I would go to the lecture this evening.
EX. He asked me what I would do in that case.
EX. He was asked the question, Are you guilty or not guilty, and refused to answer.
3) Use the interrogation point at the end of a series of questions thrown into a single sentence.
EX. Did he speak in an ordinary tone? or shout? or whisper?
EX. Did she steal the money? Deposit it? Or spent it?
EX. Does he dream of wealth? or fame? or authority? or happiness?
4) The interrogation, like a certain nuance in the voice, may indicate that a sentence, though declarative in form, is really a question and requires an answer.
EX. You are, of course, familiar with New York?
EX. The amount you gave me seems like you already converted into U.S. dollars?
EX. You will go to the lecture this evening?
5) Sometimes you may find it difficult to decide if you need to use the interrogation point or the exclamation mark after a sentence which is interrogative in form. As a general rule, when you expect or imply an answer, then use the interrogation point; if you do not, then end the sentence with the exclamation point.
EX. What is the happiness that this world can give? Can it defend us from disasters? How could you desert me!
6) When a sentence is long and not entirely interrogative, place the interrogation point immediately after the interrogative portion.
EX. Should we blame him?seeing that he did not know our rules, and that he would not have understood them.
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