What is the question mark?

Questions and answers about question mark. When did it appear and what is the difference between it and the exclamation? It can be used alongside other signals. See how to use this signal.

» Home

What is the question mark?

The question mark indicates a question and is used only in direct interrogative sentences, so the question mark is not used in indirect questions, in these only the final point is used. As we will see in the examples below.

  • What time did you arrive? (direct question)
  • The mother asked what time he would arrive. (indirect question)

The question mark can also be used with other punctuation marks, such as ellipsis and the exclamation point, which serves to enhance the expressiveness of the speech. Used with ellipsis indicates doubt, uncertainty. When used with the exclamation point it indicates surprise and indignation

What is the question mark?

The question mark has its origin in Europe, between the 14th and 17th centuries, its appearance was to facilitate the way of reading, the period that the first question marks appeared is the same period where people were adhering to the habit of reading. It serves to indicate that the person is asking some kind of question, the duty of the point is either exclamation or questioning serves to express a speech.

What is the difference between question mark and exclamation?

The exclamation point can only be placed in direct interrogative sentences. It can never be used in indirect interrogation sentences. The exclamation point is represented to make a statement, be it pain, hate, joy, sadness or any other.

Where is it used?

Question mark can be used at the end of sentences, interrogative sentences like: What time will the bus pass? Where did you leave the pencil? What clothes should I wear? In other words, we usually say that it is the question point, that is, used when we want to ask a question.

Can it be used alongside other signals?

Yes, other punctuation marks such as ellipsis, exclamation, can be used to give a new emphasis to a speech. When used together with reticence it gives a tone of doubt and uncertainty. As mentioned above, it can only be used in direct interrogative sentences, but if you need to use some other type of dot, the sentence looks like this: What now? … What are you going to do? … Did you leave ?! How can this happen ?! Reticences give a tone of doubt, exclamation indicates a tone of surprise or indignation, the order in which they appear in the sentence shows more interrogation (?!) Or exclamation (!?).

Can more than a single question mark be placed in a sentence?

It can appear up to three times in the same place, if it is being used to demonstrate or intensify something. Who ??? – asked the curious. It’s over?? It is the second time I have to ask. Did you John do all that ??? Answer me, I want to know who is responsible. Note: in the Spanish language the question mark appears inverted at the beginning of interrogative statements.

Exclamation mark (?)

The exclamation point gives the phrase an exclamatory intonation, as it is related to emotion and the transmission of a feeling, admiration, desire, joy, amazement, anger, among others.

  • What a beautiful day!
  • I’m angry!
  • I wish I won in the mega-seine!
  • How absurd!
  • We use the exclamation point also in imperative sentences.
  • Stop it now!
  • Get out!
  • In interjections, expressing sadness, pain, awe, relief, anger, joy, etc.
  • Ufa! How wonderful!
  • Ui! I hit my finger!
  • We can also use the vocatives to replace the comma.
  • Maria! Come here.
  • Boys!

End (.)

The dot represents the maximum voice pause, used to indicate the end of a period. It is also used in abbreviations, as we will see below.

  • The day dawned sunny.
  • Please use your cell phone less.
  • Sir (sir)
  • Company (company)

Comma (,)

The comma is a punctuation mark that marks a short pause, separates elements within a sentence and sentences within a period.

  • Maria wants to go to the cinema, but she has no money.

Let’s see how to use the comma to:

Separate elements within a sentence:

The comma is used to separate terms within a sentence, whether it has the same syntactic function (role that the word plays within the sentence) or has different syntactic functions. We will see the examples below.

Elements of the same syntactic function

  • Maria, Beatriz, Carla and Ana went to the party.
  • Cláudia went to buy eggs, flour, sugar, oil and rice.

Elements with different syntactic function

The comma separates elements with different functions, isolating and highlighting them as we will see below.

Isola bet (term that explains the previous term) and explanatory elements.

  • Paulo, the best student in the class, passed with high marks.

Isolates the Vocative (word or expression used to refer to the interlocutor)

  • O Pedro, can you stop this?
  • Dear Sirs,

Isolates adverbs yes and no, when they start a sentence by giving an answer.

  • Yes, you can come here for dinner.
  • No, I’m not going to the party tomorrow.

On a date, isolate the name of the place.

  • Porto Alegre, August 18, 2017.

Isolates a pleonastic element that comes before the verb.

  • The cake, Maria will make today.
  • The most fearful, the teacher will do a review before the test.

To isolate the adverbial adjunct at the beginning or middle of the sentence, being dispensable when the adverbial adjunct is just an adverb.

  • He calmly and quietly fought for his goal.
  • Calmly and quietly, she fought for her goals.

Isolates repeated elements.

  • I’m really, really, really tired!
  • The scholarship will be mine, mine, mine!

For suppression of a word, usually the verb.

  • I like strawberries; my brother, chocolate.
  • Paulo studies in the morning; Carlos, the night.

It isolates expressions interspersed in the sentence, such as: however, however, in addition, but, finally, tec.

  • The students, however, did not study for the test.
  • I like summer, however, it is winter.

Note: no comma is used between the subject and the predicate, between the verb and its objects, between the direct object and the indirect object.

  • Raul gave his bride a bouquet of red roses.

Semicolon and comma (;)

The semicolon is an intermediary between the period and the comma, that is, there is neither a total nor a brief pause, but a moderation between the two. It is used to separate items in a numbering, separates coordinated clauses that are not joined by conjunctions, which are related to each other, to separate coordinated clauses that are too long or that already have a comma or replace the comma, in order to have a longer pause. This can happen before adverse conjunctions (but, however, however, however, nevertheless). Below we will see examples of each one.


  • At the fair we find: bananas; oranges; lettuce; pineapple; etc.

Coordinated sentence not joined by conjunction

  • The environment is dirty: the air is polluted.

Very extensive coordinated prayer

  • The result was as follows: two hundred and sixty-three deputies voted in favor of President Temer; two hundred and twenty-seven voted against.

Adversifying conjunction

  • I would like to go to the cinema; however, I will only have money tomorrow.

Two points (:)

The two points mark a brief pause and its function is to precede a direct speech, a quote, an enumeration, before a clarification, explanation, summary, cause or consequence, also after the words examples, observations, notes, important information, before appositive prayers and after the initial vocation of letters and communications as we will see in the examples below.

  • Clarification, explanation, summary, cause or consequence:
  • And so it was: everyone left the party satisfied.
  • In short: everyone should study hard for the exam.

Examples, notes, notes, important information

  • Attention: tomorrow we will have a Portuguese language test.
  • Note: everyone must come from tennis and shelter in physical education classes.

Appositive Prayers

  • I told the truth to the teacher: I was tired of lying about work.
  • I clarified the situation with my boyfriend: that distrust made no sense.

Initial vocative of letters and communications

  • Dear Sirs:
  • Dear listeners:

Indent (-)

The dash is a punctuation mark that is most used at the beginning of speeches in direct speech, also used to replace the comma, or the parentheses in interspersed sentences or to highlight some part of a sentence. As we will see in the examples below.

Indent in direct speech indicates when speech begins.

  • – What time are you coming back? The mother asked the son who was leaving.
  • – I’ll be back at fifteen. Replied the son.
  • – OK.

In interspersed prayers

  • The teacher said – although no one heard her – the work is due on Thursday.

To create highlight

  • Those boys – Paulo and Ricardo – are great students.

Ellipsis (…)

The ellipsis is a punctuation mark that marks an interruption, indicating a pause or suspension in the sentence and is used in the suspension or interruption, an action that is not yet finished transmitting feelings and sensations typical of the spoken language, such as hesitation, doubt, surprise, irony, suspense , sadness, irony, etc., indicate an idea that is prolonged, to highlight a word or expression, in the interruption of dialogues and in an incomplete quote, as we will see in the examples below.


Leave a Comment