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|English||Grammar & Punctuation|
|Grammar & Punctuation||Punctuation|
Because these are direct questions, they require question marks.
There are other scenarios, however, where you may be unsure about whether or not a question
mark is needed.
For example, take the simple declarative sentence, “Jim has two coconuts and he's banging them
What if you were surprised to see Jim with those coconuts, though? How would you express
You would add a question mark to the end of the sentence to get, “Jim has two coconuts
and he's banging them together?” Then, there's the question flurry. This isn't
a winter weather condition you encounter in the Midwest...
...but rather a string of add-on questions tacked on to an initial direct question.
For example, if you were desperate to stay out for as long as possible on Saturday night,
you might ask your mom, “Can I stay out until 11:00? 11:05? 11:15? 11:30?”
Or, if you needed more time to finish your algebra exam, you might ask your teacher,
“May I have ten more minutes? fifteen minutes? thirty minutes? the rest of the day?”
Each add-on question gets its own question mark.
Also, don't capitalize the first letter of an add-on question unless the question could
stand on its own as a sentence. Let's move on to tag questions. Say you have
the statement, “That's the Holy Hand Grenade.”
Tack a tag question on to that sentence...
...so that you end up with, “That's the Holy Hand Grenade, isn't it?”...
...and suddenly your statement requires a question mark.
Next come indirect questions. Examples of indirect questions include, “I wonder why
the Black Knight is so delusional”...
...and, “I wonder why the French use farm animals as weaponry.”
Because statements where you wonder about things are indirect, rather than direct, questions...
...they do not end with question marks. But what happens when you mix direct questions
with indirect questions? Do rivers run backward? Does the world explode?
Well, no. You would write out a direct-indirect question to read, “The question is, who
were the Knights who say “Ni! <<knee>> ”?”...
...where you place a comma after the first clause and a question mark after the direct
You could also avoid the direct-indirect question nonsense altogether by writing, “Everyone
wondered who the Knights who say “Ni!” were.”
The grammar rules for question marks might… raise a few questions…
…but as long as you practice what you've learned, you should be able to triumph over
this particular grammar conundrum...
...just like the Black Knight. Oh, wait...