Posted by: Jack Henry | July 24, 2017

Editor’s Corner: Indirect Questions

Today I’m going to talk to you a little about questions: specifically, indirect questions.

Most of us can identify a direct question—something we might ask a family member, a coworker, a friend, a Roman, or a countryman. For example:

· Who is coming to Joaquin’s party?

· What is the theme of this year’s autumn parade?

· Where is Julius holding today’s meeting?

· When will you be coming over to go swimming?

· Why are you being so insistent?

· How do you expect to climb this mountain wearing 5-inch heels?

Indirect questions might be described as more formal or polite, and they are missing something very distinctive: question marks. Indirect questions do not have question marks because they are not really questions; they are statements. For example:

· I wonder if Don is coming to work today.

· I asked my brother if he wanted to go paddle boarding.

· I wonder if Gobi knows he’s a dog.

· The coach asked each child what their preferred position was.

So, next time you find yourself writing something that seems a bit like a question but you aren’t sure about the punctuation, consider whether it is a direct or indirect question. Direct = question mark; indirect = period.

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

619-542-6773 | Ext: 766773

Symitar Documentation Services

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