Using the Question Mark
There is a grain of curiosity
At the base of some new thing, that unrolls
Its question mark like a new wave on the shore.
Question marks do just that: they mark curiosity. They indicate that what is being said is a question that wants an answer.
1. Use a question mark when you are asking a direct question.
Ex. A: Was there no possible means of gaining access to the locked room?
Ex. B: That wasn't a new strain of flu, was it?
Ex. C: You what?
2. Put a question mark inside quotation marks when the quoted material is a question. Put the question mark outside the quoted material when a direct quotation is used within a question.
Ex. A: William asked Eileen, "Will you always provide me with home-cooked meals?"
Ex. B: Did Eileen throw a tantrum at the words "home-cooked meals"?
3. Do not use a question mark after an indirect question. Such sentences are statements, not questions.
Ex. A: Eileen questioned whether she could marry William or not.
Ex. B: It is a good question whether the United States can leave Iraq within the next twelve years.
Return to Grammar and Punctuation or OWL.
oAshbery, John. "Blue Sonata." Houseboat Days. New York: Farrar Staus Girous, 1999.