Where to Use Question Marks; Everything You Need to Know about Question Marks

How to use question marks will remain one of the primary worries of every writer and reader because that is one of the punctuation marks that demands something from us. As the word implies, it is a question, and an answer is required. And the right punctuation will tell your reader if the sentence is a question or not.

So, if you are writing, you wouldn’t love to embarrass yourself with articles filled with improper punctuation and placement, whereby your readers get mislead. If you have ever found yourself in this situation, it is alright to feel bad, but your article shouldn’t remain bad after reading this article.

Now that you are ready, here are the things you need to know about question marks and where they are used.

Get an Editing Service to check your grammar!


Do you see the question mark?

  • Question Marks Come after an Inquiry

Since it is a question mark, it accompanies an inquiry.


  • Where did you keep the jar of molasses?
  • Have you found the keys yet?
  • What will you have for dinner?

Sometimes, the inquiry sentences may not begin with interrogative words like “what, where, and so on to signify a question.

Sentences often take the form of a declarative sentence and still end like an inquiry. Example:

  • Jessica came from Massachusetts just to attend the Thanksgiving dinner? I’m in debt.
  • I wouldn’t be wrong to assume, more rest will improve my productivity, right doctor?

So, a quick and helpful guide is to speak your words aloud, if you can, before writing them. If the sentence is a question, then a question mark should be used to indicate the inquiry. This way, your sentence won’t lose its meaning.

  • You Can Use Them When Making a Statement

Question marks are also used when making a statement similar to the examples above. In this case, you are assuming the situation and not directly an inquiry even when it looks a little tricky. See examples:

  • Just leave the letters on my desk, alright?
  • You missed the flight, did you?
  • We are going to Dublin this Xmas, aren’t we?

Now, looking closely, you will observe that a “comma” comes before the interrogative word. So, when writing statements like this, pay attention to separating the inquiry words with a comma.

  • They Are Used in Rhetorical Questions

Rhetorical questions are other forms of uncertain or surprising questions. (Learn about rhetorical questions)


  • Aren’t the pieces of jewelry lovely?
  • Don’t you find these pups adorable?
  • Sometimes a Question Mark Is Used along an Exclamation Mark

In some sentences, you will need more than question marks to drive home your points. When this happens, an exclamation/screamer comes to the rescue (Learn about exclamation marks).

Here are a few examples:

  • Have you heard the news? There are predictions of a lunar eclipse!
  • Did you buy the tickets? The concert is canceled!

So, take note that this is only applicable when the situation is an alarming one, a surprise, or an intriguing situation.

  • For Making a Request

When you are making a mild request, the question mark should come in handy. Examples:

  • Would you please pass me the jar of water?
  • May I please have your pen?
  • Can you please accompany Scott to the movies?

Some Rules for Using Question Marks

  • Never use a period after using a question mark.
  • In a quoted sentence, a question mark comes before the closing quotation mark. Example: “Won’t Molly love Leslie as foretold?”
  • When the sentence comes with a parenthesis, place the question mark inside the parenthesis. Something like: (how many cups of flour are needed?)
  • Remember to italicize the question mark if the sentence is italicized (Using Italic font in writing).
  • Never use a comma after using a question mark in a sentence.

It is always a good idea to have an expert edit your writing!

To Wrap It up

Knowing these tiny bitty details about question marks is important and will also save you from the snare of poor articles. Nothing saps one’s enthusiasm like bad reviews from editors after days, months, years of putting an idea to paper. Thankfully, all those are in the past, and you can start using your question marks properly now, won’t you?

Scientific Editing Blog

Photo of author

By Andy Xavier

Andy is an avid content developer and writer. He is experienced in creating engaging articles that are entirely unique and insightful. He has written lots of articles for Scientific Editing since 2019.

Leave a Comment

Related Posts

Where to use ellipsis

Ellipsis – All You Need to Know about It

The ellipsis (. . ., …)  also known as dot-dot-dot is a grammatical term (usually three dots) that’s used to indicate an intentional omission of a sentence, word or whole section from a text without changing its original meaning. The word “ellipsis” originates from the Greek word élleipsis, and it means, leave out. When it comes to how…
Where to use a hyphen

Where to Use a Hyphen

The hyphen is used to join words together and also to separate syllables of a single word. Hyphenation is the use of hyphens. The punctuation mark should not be confused with dashes (en dash  –, figure dash ‒,  horizontal dash —, and em dash  —), which are longer and have their own different use. The…
full stop or period

Where to Use Periods/Full Stops

The period is one of the first punctuation marks we learn when at the start of our reading and writing years. In comparison to other punctuation marks such as the semicolons or commas, the use of the period is easy to learn and understand. The period is known as the “full stop” in British English…
Where to use commas

Where to Use Commas

The comma is one of the most used punctuation marks there is, and perhaps the most misused and abused punctuation mark in the English language. The comma is used in various languages and context, mainly to separate parts of a sentence such as items in lists or clauses. The word comma is derived from the…
Where to use colon and semicolon?

Where to Use Colon and Semicolon

Not everyone understands the importance of using the right punctuation during writing. Just like with speaking, where the use of intonation helps your listeners understand you better. That’s what these symbols do to your writing. They help you communicate your writing to readers. People rarely have issues using the full stop, comma, bracket, exclamation, and…