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Question Mark

The question mark (?) is an important part of the English language and was developed sometime around the 18th Century. Like the full stop (.), this punctuation mark is used mainly at the end of an interrogative sentence. Many people use it incorrectly or don’t use it when required. Read this article and you will understand when and how to use the question mark.


The most obvious and common use of the question mark is to end a direct question. Look at the following sentences.

  1. Where are you going?
  2. What is this?
  3. Are you mad?
  4. Is this the place?
  5. How much is this phone for?

Most people don’t know that the question mark has other uses as well. Let’s take a look.

A. To indicate uncertainty.

  1. He lived till 1990(?) and was buried near his house.
  2. Gandhi ji, 2nd October 1869(?) – 1948, was a great Indian leader.

B. In a series of questions.

  1. What? He isn’t coming? When did you speak to him?
  2. He’s been hospitalized? Why didn’t you tell me? Is he better now?
  3. This is your car? When did you buy this? How much did it cost?

C. To end a tag question (a statement followed by a question).

  1. His phone was stolen, wasn’t it?
  2. She’s a great painter, isn’t she?
  3. He’s lost his job, hasn’t he?

Many times, people use questions marks even when they’re not required. One such situation would be indirect questions; these do not require a question mark.

  1. Rohit asked Nidhi to marry him.
  2. The Principal asked him his name.
  3. His father wondered whether the car was fine.