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  1. Newbie
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    #1

    Question Questions without question marks?

    Are there cases, where we have a question, but without a question marks after it?

    For example:
    If a website has a link called "How to Join"
    Should we add a "?" or not?
    Because it is not a question in this case, but the real meaning is rather "this is how to join".

    I hope you got my point. :)
    Thanks.

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    #2

    Re: Questions without question marks?

    Quote Originally Posted by Q8Cat View Post
    Are there cases, where we have a question, but without a question marks after it?

    For example:
    If a website has a link called "How to Join"
    Should we add a "?" or not?
    Because it is not a question in this case, but the real meaning is rather "this is how to join".

    I hope you got my point. :)
    Thanks.

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    Good afternoon.

    (1) Yes, sometimes you don't use a question mark for a question because it is not really a question. It is a super polite order.

    (2) For example, your boss might write this to you: Would you please come to my office. A question mark is probably not necessary because it is not a real question. The boss is really saying: Come to my office now!!! But that is not polite, so he gives an order in the form of a question.

    (3) "Would you mind talking more quietly." = Stop talking so loudly!!!



    Thank you.


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    #3

    Re: Questions without question marks?

    (Not a teacher)

    Perhaps this is going further than you wanted to, but in linguistics, 'question' is an illocutionary type; it's grammatical counterpart is 'interrogative'.

    Often, people use these terms interchangeably, but they should be distinguished from each other.

    Grammatically, "Would you mind talking more quietly?" is an interrogative sentence. However, it's illocutionary force (the speakers intention) could be as a statement, or perhaps a command, not a question.

    For this reason, I would say that the question mark should be ommited if the illocutionary force is as something other than a question.

    Similarly, if you make a statement (grammatical structure), but you mean a question (illocutionary force) then a question mark should be added in writing. So:

    'You are going.' This is a statement, grammatically. However, it's illocutionary force can either be a command, or a question. This would be indicated by intonation and tone of voice. In writing, it would be indicated by the addition of an exclamation mark for a command, and a question mark for a question.

    So, to clarify my point - if you say a statement (grammatically) and what you mean is a question (intention), then use a question mark. If you say a question (grammatically) and what you mean is a statement (intention), then don't use a question mark.

    However, your example of 'how you join' is only a statement. Grammatically, 'wh-' questions (of which, 'how' is one) require an auxiliary to be added. Also, 'wh-' questions are very rarely used as statements because of this auxiliary.

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Questions without question marks?

    Quote Originally Posted by Linguist__ View Post
    However, your example of 'how you join' is only a statement.
    "How to join" is neither a statement nor a question.
    It's a heading, derived from "[This is] how to join", or "[Read the following to find out] how to join."

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