What is a Question Mark “?” All You Need to Know About Question Mark Punctuation

We all use Question Mark “?” and it is one of the most frequently used symbols in the English punctuation system. But have you ever wonder about the history behind it? The question mark is thought to have originated from Aelius Donatus’ punctuation system. Aelius Donatus’s punctuation system, which was used throughout the Early Middle Ages, consisted of merely basic dots of varying heights. The first question mark was a decoration of these dots, with the “lightning flash” possibly denoting intonation.

Alternatively, the question mark may have been invented by Alcuin of York, an English scholar, and poet born in 735 and invited to attend Charlemagne’s court in 781.

question mark "?"
Question Mark “?”

Different Ways to Use a Question Mark?

To signify the end of a question, use a question mark.

How old are you?

In brackets, a question mark can also be used to indicate that a statement does not convince the writer.

I heard he’s only 26 years old, but I’m curious if he’s older than Peter (?)

A question mark can appear many times in a single sentence.

What is your age? Height? Body mass index?

As a rule, avoid using a question mark at the end of an indirect question, which is a declarative sentence that reports a question and concludes with a period rather than a question mark.

“Would you mind giving me that book”

However, if the indirect inquiry includes a question sentence, you must use a question mark.

He’s a handsome guy, isn’t he?

A question mark may also appear directly after data that is uncertain, such as dates.

Acland, John (?–1553)

Different Ways to Use a Question Mark

Different Question Mark Symbols 

? – Question mark

¿ – Inverted question mark         

﹖-Small question mark 

؟ – Arabic question mark

፧ – Ethiopian question mark

ʔ – Canada indigenous language question mark

 ՞ – Question mark in Armenia

? – U+003F (Standard Unicode of the Question Mark)