The question mark (?) follows an interrogative word, phrase, clause, or sentence. It has the power to end a sentence, yet it may also punctuate a quotation within a sentence without ending the sentence. This mark is always used to indicate a question. For example:

  • Have you done your homework ?
  • “What time is it ?” he said.
Rule 1:

Do not use a question mark after an indirect question. For example:

  • I was asked if I had finished my homework.
  • He asked what time it was.
Rule 2:

Do not use question mark at the end of an interrogative sentence to which no answer is required. For example:

  • How could you!
  • How dare you!
Rule 3:

A declarative expression may be transferred into a question by the mere addition of a question mark. For example:

  • The train was late. -> The train was late?
  • Really. -> Really?
Rule 4:

A question mark is enclosed in parentheses after a fact that is doubtful. For example:

  • America was first visited by a white man in A.D.1000 (?).
  • The crowd numbered 650 (?) cheering students.
Rule 5:

When more than one question is asked in a sentence, a question mark may or may not be used depending upon the degree of emphasis desired. For emphasis, each separate question begins with a capital letter and terminates with its own question mark. A simple question mark is used at the end of a sentence when the questions within the sentence are related and form a unified thought. For example:

  • The teacher asked, “How large is Berlin ? What is its population ? and In what country is it located?”
  • How am I expected to know the size, population, and location of a city when I don’t have an atlas ?
Rule 6:

The question mark should be placed inside quotation marks if it belongs to the quotation ( as shown is the example immediately above). It should be placed outside quotation marks if it does not belong to the quotation. For exmple:

  • Who first said, “Haste makes waste” ?
Rule 7:

After indirect question, Full Stop is used. For example:

  • He asked me what my name was.
  • I don’t know who he was.
Rule 8:

After question tag question mark is used. For example:

  • You are going tomorrow, aren’t you ?
  • Come tomorrow, will you ?
Rule 9:

After such phrases, words or statements question mark is used where question is understood. For example:

Ram : I shall return the book soon.
Shyam : But when ?