Lots of Question Marks: What They Are and How To Use Them

Do you know what question marks are? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on question marks, including its definition, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What are question marks?

According to Grammar Monster, a question mark – also known as an eroteme or interrogation point – is a piece of punctuation that comes at the end of a direct question. It is used to show where a question ends and is used in interrogative sentences. Just like other punctuation marks like exclamation points/exclamation mark, parentheses, quotations/quotation marks, an ellipsis, a comma and more, this mark of punctuation has very specific use cases. This terminal punctuation mark or interrogation mark is not used with indirect questions. The combination of a question mark and an exclamation point is called an interrobang. A question mark is used for queries, disbelief, uncertainty, a series of questions with a specific answer, and more at the end of a sentence.

It is standard to use a single question mark at the end of a question, as this is the polite way of asking a question. Often, a simple question mark will suffice. However, in test message, just as people use an excess of emojis or emoticons, they might use more than one question mark for emphasis. Excess punctuation or a bunch of question marks might be frowned upon by a grammar Nazi in works of fiction, but typing question makrs like this on your keyboard is just fine for sarcasm or other emptions in texting. Don’t spam your friends – though it may be an effective way to get them to answer!

Many different languages also contain words that mean question marks. You may notice that some of these translations of question marks look and sound similar to one another. These are called cognates, which are words and phrases in different languages that likely have the same root or language of origin, causing them to sound the same. The below list of translations of question marks is provided by Word Sense

  •  Hindi: प्रश्नचिह्न‎
  •  Scottish Gaelic: comharradh-ceiste‎ (masc.)
  •  Irish: comhartha ceiste‎ (masc.)
  •  Roman: ùpitnīk‎ (masc.)
  •  Welsh: gofynnod‎ (masc.), holnod‎ (masc.), marc cwestiwn‎ (masc.)
  •  Yakut: ыйытыы бэлиэтэ‎
  •  Cyrillic: упитник‎ (masc.)
  •  Armenian:  ՞, հարցական նշան‎
  •  Albanian: pikëpyetje‎ (fem.)
  •  Russian: вопроси́тельный знак‎ (masc.), знак вопро́са‎ (masc.)
  •  Urdu: ؟‎
  •  Greek: ;‎, ερωτηματικό‎ (neut.)
  •  Maori: tohu pātai‎
  •  Khakas: сурығ танығы‎
  •  Polish: pytajnik‎ (masc.), znak zapytania‎ (masc.)
  •  Swedish: frågetecken‎ (neut.)
  •  French: point d’interrogation‎ (masc.)
  •  Luxembourgish: Froenzeechen‎ (neut.)
  •  Lithuanian: klaustukas‎
  •  Italian: punto interrogativo‎ (masc.), punto di domanda‎ (masc.)
  •  German: Fragezeichen‎ (neut.)
  •  Malay: tanda soal‎
  •  Portuguese: ponto de interrogação‎ (masc.)
  •  Yiddish: פֿרעגצייכן‎ (masc.)
  •  Mandarin: ?‎, 問號‎, 问号‎ (wènhào)
  •  Latvian: jautājuma zīme‎ (fem.)
  •  Romanian: semn de întrebare‎
  •  Finnish: kysymysmerkki‎
  •  Esperanto: demandosigno‎
  •  Cornish: nos kwestyon‎ (masc.)
  •  Korean: ?‎, 물음표‎
  •  Icelandic: spurningarmerki‎ (neut.)
  •  Persian: ؟‎
  •  Breton: pik-goulennata‎ (masc.)
  •  Burmese: (symbol) း။‎
  •  Khmer: ល្បះសំនួរ‎ (lbah sɑmnuə)
  •  Dutch: vraagteken‎ (neut.)
  •  Spanish: signo de interrogación‎ (masc.)
  •  Udmurt: юан пус‎
  •  Macedonian: пра́шалник‎ (masc.)
  •  Czech: otazník‎ (masc.)
  •  Japanese: ?‎, 疑問符‎ (ぎもんふ, gimonfu)
  •  Slovene: vprašaj‎ (masc.)
  •  Crimean Tatar: sual işareti‎
  •  Kalmyk: сургч темдг‎
  •  Catalan: interrogant‎, signe d’interrogació‎ (masc.)
  •  Hungarian: kérdőjel‎
  •  Pashto: ؟‎
  •  Danish: spørgsmålstegn‎ (neut.)
  •  Norwegian: spørsmålstegn‎ (neut.)
  •  Southern Altai: суракту темдек‎ (suraktu temdek)
  •  Volapük: säkamalül‎
  •  Turkish: soru işareti‎
  •  Norman: point d’tchestchionn’nie‎ (masc.) (Jersey), mèrque dé tchestchion‎ (fem.) (Jersey)
  •  Bengali: জিজ্ঞাসাচিহ্ন‎
  •  Arabic: ؟‎, عَلَامَة اِسْتِفْهَام‎, عَلَامَة سُؤَال‎

What are examples of question marks?

question marks can be used in many different contexts in the English language. Trying to use a word or literary technique in a sentence is one of the best ways to memorize what it is, but you can also try making flashcards or quizzes that test your knowledge. Try using this term of the day in a sentence today! Below are a couple of examples of question marks that can help get you started incorporating this tool into your everyday use.  Take a look at the following examples of question marks from Really Learn English, Grammar Monster, and The Punctuation Guide and see how many you can identify! 

  • Are you there?
  • The dog is brown, right?
  • Did they go to the party?
  • Would they make it on time? she wondered.
  • I have not read Mark Twain’s “Is He Living or Is He Dead?”
  • How did you do that?
  • Did she pass her Washington, D.C. motorbike test?
  • Did she say, “You have finished”?
  • You speak English, don’t you?
  • Do you realize if it weren’t for Edison, we’d be watching TV by candlelight? 
  • Is George the teacher?
  • If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one? (President Abraham Lincoln)
  • “What are we having for dinner?” his son asked.
  • All (?) the staff will be attending the briefing.
  • Really?
  • What color is the shirt?
  • You paid the bill, didn’t you?
  • When will you arrive?
  • What’s another word for Thesaurus? (Comedian Steven Wright)
  • Do you want to eat pizza, chicken or hamburgers?
  • The key question, Can the two sides reach a compromise? was not answered.
  • If there is no God, who pops up the next Kleenex? (Author Art Hoppe)
  • You won the lottery?
  • Why did you stop here?
  • When a man tells you that he got rich through hard work, ask him, “Whose?”  (Don Marquis, 1878-1937)
  • You promise to call me every day?
  • What are your favorite books?
  • I’ll see you at 6 o’clock, okay?
  • Do you know her name?
  • Isn’t it a beautiful day?
  • The question is, Does anyone support this legislation?
  • Have you read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
  • Out of curiosity, do you know what those icons and gestures mean?
  • Has the mail been picked up?
  • Did you see the movie?
  • She said, “Have you finished?” 
  • Who cares?
  • Where is the gas station?
  • What is she doing tonight?
  • What’s not to like?
  • A lot of men (?) find ironing therapeutic.
  •  (Canadian author Al Boliska)
  • Does he like apples?
  • Do you want to eat pizza? chicken? hamburgers?
  • Who is your Latin teacher?
  • See you there at 8:00 tonight?
  • Lisa is not here, is she?
  • You won the lottery, eh?
  • Wow, who knew he was so talented?
  • Are you kidding me? He doesn’t know HTML?

Overall, the modern question mark is used for an interrogative type of sentence.

Sources:

  1. Question Marks – Rules and Examples | Really Learn English 
  2. Question mark | The Punctuation Guide 
  3. Question Marks (Use and Examples) | Grammar Monster 
  4. question mark: meaning, translation, synonyms | Word Sense