A question mark is used at the end of any sentence that is a question. So, like, in this sentence. It says:
“Where are we?” This is a question, so there’s a question mark at the end of the sentence.
This transcript is for your convenience.
Question marks are also used in quotations that ask a question.
So, right here, it says: “Is dinner at 6 p.m.?”
So, there’s a question mark at the end of the quotation, because the speaker is asking a question.
Notice though that there’s not a question mark at the end of the sentence. There’s just a period. That’s because the writer of this sentence is not asking a question.
“Is dinner at 6 p.m.?” he asked.
Is not a question. But, “Is dinner at 6 p.m.?”, well, that is a question. So, that’s why the question mark only applies to the words inside the quotation marks.
Also notice right here that 6 p.m. ends with a period because it’s an abbreviation. Even though there’s a period right there, you still use a question mark right next to the period.
You probably noticed that in quotations that declare something, you just put a comma at the end. So, if this was a declarative sentence, we would just leave it as a period. But, since it’s asking a question, we use a quotation mark.
Now, this next sentence is an example of when not to use a question mark. It says:
“The officer asked why I was speeding.”
This is what we call an indirect question because although the sentence is talking about a time that someone asked a question, this sentence right here is not a question. So, a period is just used.
This sentence says:
“We will leave at 7 p.m., won’t we?”
So, “We will leave at 7 p.m.” is a declarative sentence, so it would just end in a period. But, since “won’t we?” is added to the end, it becomes a question. So, that’s why we need a question mark at the end.
This final sentence says:
“Will everyone please give their full attention to the speaker.”
So, notice that this sentence ends in a period, even though this sentence technically is a question because the speaker of this sentence is saying “please give your attention to the speaker“.
However, this is more of a formal request. The speaker of this sentence is not asking for a response. We’re not saying, “Will you please be quiet?”, and people are going to say, “Yes, we will be quiet.” It’s more of a formal way of saying “Be quiet” because the speaker is talking. So in formal requests, especially long formal requests, a period is used at the end of a sentence, instead of a question mark. So, the important thing to remember is that question marks are just used at the end of any sentence that is a question.