question mark placement


In the text of a story, when someone is asking a question, where does the question mark go?

Example:  "Are we going," asked Mary?  or is it "Are we going?" asked Mary.

asked Jan 02 '12 at 20:16 Sylvia Hensel New member

3 answers



"Are we going?" asked Mary is correct.  Punctuation is always within the quotation marks.

link answered Jan 02 '12 at 20:36 Jody M. Expert

Jody's answer is correct, however, that was not the question. What I needed to know was (see example) "Are we going?" said Mary. In a person speaking asks a question, does the question mark go within the quotation mark, then a period after Mary. Or should it be "Are we going," said Mary? Now I purt a comma after going, and a question mark after Mary. Which sentence is correct? If the first is correct, should I capitalize "said" because it is the first word after a sentence? A question mark indicates the end of a sentence, a comma doesn't. Sylvia HenselJan 03 '12 at 13:28

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Hi Sylvia,

As stated in my previous answer, the correct way to write it is, "Are we going?" asked Mary.  You wouldn't write said because a question is being asked.  The question mark goes within the quotation marks and a period after Mary. 

Asked does not need to be capitalized, though Grammarly might state otherwise.  You can ignore the suggestion from Grammarly, or you could write it as "Are we going?" Mary asked.  Then you've put the proper noun first, which is always capitalized, and fooled Grammarly in the process.  : )

Punctuation is always within the quotation marks, such as question marks, exclamation points, commas, and periods.  Note that you would only insert a period if you don't have a dialogue tag or if the tag is before the dialogue. Mary asked is a dialogue tag.

For example, you could write Mary asked, "Are we going?"  or Mary said, "We are going."

I know a question mark, or any closing punctuation, indicates the end of a sentence, and we've all been taught that the first word of the next sentence is capitalized, but written dialogue follows different rules.

Check out this link if you're still confused.

link comment answered Jan 03 '12 at 16:28 Jody M. Expert

I agree entirely with Jody.

link comment answered Apr 02 '12 at 18:54 Angela Rigley Contributor

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