Question marks

Why do we need to use correct punctuation? Because it is absolutely essential to writing and expressing ourselves properly and correctly. Everywhere from the workplace to writing emails, documents and even sending text messages, society will always endeavour to adhere to the social norms, that is, what we perceive to be correct. Correct usage and a basic understanding of the fundamentals of English punctuation concerning; apostrophes, colons, semi-colons, commas, dashes, full stops, questions marks, exclamation marks and quotation marks, will lead to an overall much more fluent, comprehensive and respected English. We should strive to meet the social, academic norms, and withstand from letting ourselves become accustomed to writing in English using incorrect and shabby punctuation. Down below, we’ll elaborate and explain with examples over the basic pillars of punctuation specifically targeting: question marks.

Question marks (?) – Interrogation 

Question marks are used for asking a question/interrogating while closing the sentence. The next sentence must start with a capital letter. Questions can be in the form of a question tag or with these very popular question words: who, whom, whose, which, what, when, where, why and how.

  • Who do you know? I don’t know anyone.
  • To Whom did you sell the house? (formal) I sold the house to my uncle. (Note that ‘uncle’ here is the object, that is why ‘whom’ is used, although it’s becoming increasingly less used.
  • Whose bag is that?
  • Which pen would you like?
  • What is all that racket?
  • When did they leave?
  • Where are the Jackson’s going today?
  • Why don’t you explain yourself?
  • How on earth did they know that?

Questions in the form of question tags

These are affirmative statements followed by a question tag to make the statements interrogative. We don’t use question words such as; which, who etc., for these types of questions. The structure is always positive-negative or negative-positive.

  • You work for me, don’t you?
  • I can come, can’t I?
  • The sheep were moved in, weren’t they?
  • I wouldn’t mind going to the show, would I?
  • I play here every day, don’t I?

Note that all auxiliary verbs follow suit, that is, the same verb is used twice, negative to positive or vice versa. If the verb is not an auxiliary verb then we default to ‘do‘, which is used in the question tag.

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