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Uploaded on on Jun 17, 2021


In several languages, the question mark (sometimes called an interrogation point, query, or eroteme in journalism) is a punctuation mark that denotes an interrogative clause or phrase. For indirect inquiries, the question mark is not utilized. The question mark symbol is also frequently used to represent info that is missing or uncertain.


Alcuin of York, according to Lynne Truss, is credited with inventing the current question mark in Western language. “A lightning bolt, striking from right to left,” Truss characterizes the late eighth-century punctus interrogativus. (Aelius Donatus’ punctuation system, which was in use throughout the Early Middle Ages, consisted of simply plain dots at varying heights.)

This first question mark was a decoration of one of these dots, with the “lightening flash” possibly denoting intonation and maybe linked with early musical notation such as neumes. Another hypothesis is that it was originally a tilde or titlo, as in, one of several wavy or slanted markings used in medieval manuscripts to indicate things like abbreviations, which would eventually become various diacritics or ligatures. This pitch-defining feature (if it ever existed) seems to have been forgotten during the following three centuries, thus the Alcuinesque stroke-over-dot indication (with the stroke occasionally slightly curled) is commonly observed indifferently at the conclusion of sentences, whether or not they represent a question.


Punctuation was rationalized in the early 13th century, when the growth of communities of scholars (universities) in Paris and other major cities led to an expansion and streamlining of the book-production trade, by assigning Alcuin’s stroke-over-dot specifically to interrogatives; by this time, the stroke had become more sharply curved and can easily be recognized as the modern question mark.

Syriac was the first language to utilize a punctuation mark to signify an interrogative phrase, according to a 2011 finding by Chip Coakley, a Cambridge University manuscript specialist. The zagwa elaya (“upper pair”) is a Syriac question mark that looks like a vertical double dot over a word.


The question mark usually appears at the conclusion of a sentence in English, where it replaces the full stop (period). However, the question mark can also substitute the comma at the conclusion of a sentence or sentence (see also question comma):

The Greek question mark (Greek: ertmatikó, romanized: ertmatikó) resembles the letter ;. It first arose in the eighth century, at the same time as the Latin one. It was adopted by Church Slavonic and gradually came to resemble the Latin semicolon in appearance. It is encoded as U+037E ; GREEK QUESTION MARK in Unicode, but the resemblance is so great that the code point is normalized to U+003B ; SEMICOLON in practice, rendering the marks identical. Even for indirect queries, the question mark is utilized in Greek.

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