Using a question mark can be tricky when a question isn’t clear cut.
The question mark is usually thought of as one of the easier punctuation marks to use; however, situations arise where writers wonder whether they should use a question mark or not. This article discusses proper use of the question mark.
A question mark is used when asking a direct question: How are you? This is straight forward . . . however, as with most things grammar-related, tricky issues arise when things aren’t so clear cut.
What about when a question occurs in the middle of a sentence? Where should the question mark then be placed? Should it appear mid-sentence or at the end? The question mark should follow a direct question, mid-sentence:
The use of the question mark also becomes tricky when indirect questions are used. The question mark should not be included in sentences such as the following:
When a question in a sentence comprises one or two words, such as who, what, when, why or how, the question mark may be omitted and the words italicized:
A single word can be left as is:
A request disguised as a question doesn’t usually require a question mark:
A question mark is placed inside quotation, parentheses and brackets, only when it is part of the quoted or parenthetical material:
But, when a question is not:
Stella (had I met her before?) winked at me coyly.
Edsel Keeting (1902?-1960) rose to fame rapidly.
It is important to understand the subtle differences in questions and how they appear in sentences so you employ proper use of question marks.
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