5.2 Ending sentences
There are only three ways to end a sentence: with a full stop (see the end of this sentence), a question mark (?) or an exclamation mark (!).
The most common way of ending a sentence is the full stop. If you look back over what you have read in the last few minutes, you will see that most of the sentences end with one. In the grammar section you looked at what a sentence is, but in terms of the punctuation that shows a standard (not a question or exclamation) sentence has finished, a full stop is the only option.
The rule for question marks is straightforward. If a sentence is a question, it needs a question mark at the end.
How are you?
What are you doing at the weekend?
Where did you go on holiday?
A helpful pattern to be aware of is that very often, sentences that begin with words such as is, can, when, why, what, how, where and who need a question mark.
Exclamation marks are the least common of the three sentence endings. They are used to show that the sentence contains some sort of strong emotion such as anger, surprise, joy or fear.
Get out of here!
I don’t believe it!
They can also be used at the end of commands:
Activity 34 Full stop, question mark or exclamation mark?
Look at the sentences below. Add the correct mark to the end of each of them.
Check your endings against these:
It is Saturday today.
Is it Saturday today?
Wow – it’s Saturday today!
What’s your favourite kind of music?
I mostly listen to talk radio.
I can’t live without music!