A question ends with an even longer stop than a period, begging for time to consider an answer.
- Know Inside from Out.
Question marks go inside the quotation marks when the dialogue ends with a question. When dialogue is included in a questioning statement, the question mark goes outside.
- Who said, “Men go where angels fear to tread”? (The sentence is the question, not the quote, so the mark goes outside. Notice there is no period before the ending quotation mark).
- Hunter said, “Are you sure?” (The dialogue presents the question, so the mark goes inside the quotation mark.)
- Distinguish Statements from Questions.
Sentences that end with what, why, or how are not always questions. Sometimes the sentence could be read either as a question or as a statement, depending solely on the punctuation used.
- Guess what? what. I’ve decided not to go. (The first sentence is a command, not a question.)
- Al didn’t make it to work. I wonder why? why. (The second sentence is a statement, not a question).
- Daryl is going to the rodeo. (A statement of fact.)
- Daryl is going to the rodeo? (A question needing an answer.)