Question Mark

The question mark: when to use it..and when not to.


We use a question mark after a direct question. For example:

What is your name?


Why aren’t there more hours in a day?

Are you hungry?


Easy, right?

The most common mistake people make with this punctuation mark is using it in indirect questions:

I asked Harry if he’d seen my new car?┬áis wrong. There should not be a question mark in this sentence.


Tip #1: Don’t use a question mark in an indirect question.

The example above is not a direct question; it is a statement about a question. So:


I asked Harry if he’d seen my new car.

The magistrate wanted to know if he had any previous convictions.

She wondered why Kevin was so late.

If we turn these statements into direct questions, we use the question mark like this:

I asked Harry, “have you seen my new car?”

“Has he had any previous convictions?” the magistrate asked.

Why is Kevin so late? she wondered.


Tip #2: Polite demands do not need question marks.

For example:


Will you please make sure the kitchen area is kept clean.

Would you make sure you arrive by 10am.

Avoid these most common errors and you can be confident abbout using the question mark.

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