When and Why to Use the Question Mark


When and Why to Use the Question Mark

An interrogation sign is a symbol we add in writing when we ask. As a rule, we put it at the end of the sentence to tag the intonation. If you're interested in reading the main rules of using this symbol, go ahead and find a lot of handy information. In our article, we're going to provide you with essential punctuation rules of question mark writing as well as share some impressive facts about how this symbol became a recognizable combination. 

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Who invented the question mark

When we read, we see many recognizable symbols of an interrogation sign without going to deep in its meaning. But do you know how the question mark was set up? Let's discover some facts about the interrogation symbol: 

  1. The first statement claims that it was used to mark unknown places on maps. The symbol was derived from the shape of the tail the cat makes when it is surprised. As it is believed, Egyptians used this combination in the sentence to express wonder or to ask. 
  2. The second statement starts in Rome. It says the question mark appeared from the Latin word "quaestio" that means "question." In the Middle Ages, people used an abbreviation "qo" to tag a question. After all, people started to write "Q" over "o", and these abbreviations became the ones we use nowadays. 

However, there is no 100% proof about how the interrogation mark was invented to tag a question. History doesn't have any manuscript about its appearance. 

Today, we add the symbol at the end of the sentence in writing when asking.  

When to use a question mark: essential rules 

When you want to end a sentence with an interrogation symbol, you should pay attention: without knowing the main rules for a question mark, you run into risk making a mistake. In our short guide, you will learn simple rules on how to write grammatically correct.

Usually, the symbol is written at the end of a direct question or a statement. Even if you know grammar rules well, you may wonder where to place a question mark. Follow these easy-to-understand tips:

  • Use question marks at the end of a direct question. Keep in mind that it replaces a period in the end:
  1. How can I begin my lesson?
  2. Do you feel positive or negative about the prose?
  3. Is it too complicated for you to quit smoking?
  • An indirect one doesn't request using the marks at the end:
  1. The teacher asked a student to make a brief thesis statement.
  2. I asked a company to help me with the expository writing.
  3. She asked him if he is a part-time student.
  • Be careful because you can confuse about the indirect question with a statement that needs question marks at the end:  
  1. I wonder: Might Obama become president again?
  2. She doubts: how to choose a brief title and a statement for prose?
  3. We wonder: Is it possible to begin the plan correctly?
  • Rhetorical questions require question marks at the end too:
  1. How would people express their positive and negative emotions without feelings?
  2. Is it so hard for me to quit drinking?
  3. Is the pope Catholic?
  • Sometimes substantial sentences can consist of several smaller ones. You should tag them with question points at the end of each one:
  1. Can you find who is responsible for the ecology of our world? People? Government? Animals? 
  • Tag a question with marks when it's half of the full one:
  1. You're not careful when using a crucial incorrect key combination, aren't you?

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