The Question Mark

Punctuation Marks

(Part 14)

The Question Mark

What is the question mark and why is it important when writing?

The question mark (?) is one of the most commonly used punctuation marks in the English language.

It’s one of the three punctuation marks in the English language known as terminal punctuation marks. Terminal means the end. Terminal punctuation marks are used to end sentences.

End Punctuation is the most common punctuation in the English language. You must use end punctuation at the end of every sentence to avoid confusion.

The question mark (?) is used to mark the end of a sentence that is interrogative, or asks question.

Here are a few examples of interrogative sentences:

•  Do you want to join me for dinner?

•  Who is that?

•  Where’s the car?

•  He’s at the house already?

•  Who’s your favorite artist?

•  Why?

Punctuation rules for using the question mark:

• Must be used at the end of a sentence or statement considered to be complete

Sentences not punctuated correctly are grammatically incorrect and confuse the reader. Please see the examples below.

Examples:

• Do you want to have some of my sandwich. Are you sure.

• Where are we going

•  What time is it

Can you identify any punctuation errors in the sentences above? If so, take a moment and write your answers on a sheet of paper.

Here is the correct punctuation:

• Do you want to have some of my sandwich? Are you sure?

• Where are we going?

• What time is it?

Another example:

Where did I leave my jacket.

The sentence above is a question but it lacks a question mark. Therefore, it reads incorrectly as a declarative statement instead. (See below)

Correct punctuation:

Where did I leave my jacket?

The correct punctuation correctly portrays the meaning of the words.

One last important thing to know about question marks is how they function regarding quotes.

When you’re quoting a question, the question mark goes inside the quotations.

Example:

He said, “Did you hear that?”

When the quote is part of a question you’re asking, place the question mark outside of the quotation marks.

Example:

How often does he say, “Hello”?

This concludes the workshop on the question mark punctuation. Please go back and re-read the information contained in this workshop before completing the question mark worksheet.

Now, it’s time to test your knowledge on the question mark punctuation. Please complete the worksheet titled: Question Marks Worksheet. You’ll find it on our website. Just click on the Literacy Resources section, then select Worksheets.

We hope you enjoyed this reading and writing workshop.

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