Question Mark After “I Was Wondering” – Guide & Examples

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Danielle McLeod

Danielle McLeod is a highly qualified secondary English Language Arts Instructor who brings a diverse educational background to her classroom. With degrees in science, English, and literacy, she has worked to create cross-curricular materials to bridge learning gaps and help students focus on effective writing and speech techniques. Currently working as a dual credit technical writing instructor at a Career and Technical Education Center, her curriculum development surrounds student focus on effective communication for future career choices.

The phrase “I was wondering” serves as a polite way to introduce a sentence or as part of an imperative sentence when requesting something. Although a question mark never directly follows its use, it is a common end mark to use when it is included in a sentence.

Let’s look at the different ways you can integrate this phrase into your writing and speech and learn how to punctuate it properly.

Question Mark Rules and Examples

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Interrogative sentences are used to request more information and ask a question. They begin with an auxiliary verb or adverb and end with a question mark.

For example:

  • Can you lock the door on the way out?
  • Are you going to the dance tonight?
  • Would you turn out the lights?

Interrogative sentences can also convert imperative and declarative sentences into a question with the addition of a question tag. Declarative sentences offer a statement, fact, or explanation. Imperative sentences provide a command, request, or demand.

For example:

  • He wasn’t at the game last night, was he?
  • You aren’t eating the last piece of pizza, are you?

When Is the Phrase “I Was Wondering” Used?

“I was wondering” is a phrase used to politely introduce an interrogative sentence. It serves as an introductory phrase to a question and is usually followed by a comma – but not always.

For example:

  • I was wondering if you could please pick up dinner on the way home.
  • I was wondering, can you return the library book for me?

When Do You Use a Comma With “I Was Wondering”?

If the phrase is followed by an auxiliary verb, such as can, could, would, might, etc., a comma should be placed after it to create a dramatic pause and emphasize the question that follows. A question mark almost always follows this sentence structure.

For example:

  • I was wondering, might I have a moment of your time over coffee one evening?
  • I was wondering, should I wear all black to the reception?

When the phrase is followed by anything other than an auxiliary verb, a comma is not necessary unless you want to create a dramatic shift in tone or create a pause. These sentences can either serve as a question, an imperative request, or a declarative statement.

For example:

  • I was wondering, what in the world was he thinking?
  • I was wondering if you were going to pick up those papers.
  • I was wondering when you planned on getting here.

Do You Put a Question Mark After “I Was Wondering”?

Obviously, a question mark will not be placed directly after the phrase, “I was wondering.” However, when used in dialog and followed with ellipsis and question marks, a writer can create a statement that indicates being cut off.

For example:

  • She looked sideways at him and shrugged her shoulders. “I was wondering…?” she started to say but ended in an up note, leaving it dangling as a question.

The phrase “I was wondering” is usually used to begin a question or serve as an imperative request or declarative statement. Take a look at the example of when and when not to use a question mark with “I was wondering” below.

When to Place a Question Mark After “I Was Wondering”

When “I was wondering” is used to introduce a question, use a question mark at the end of the sentence.

For example:

  • I was wondering, are you planning on coming over this evening?

When NOT to Place a Question Mark After “I Was Wondering”

There is no hard-and-fast rule pertaining to question marks when the phrase “I was wondering” appears in your sentence. But, if you are attempting to create a request or statement with its use, then you want to end with a period.

For example:

  • I was wondering if you would run by the bank on the way home from work for me.
  • I was wondering if you meant to go through with your plans.
  • I was wondering if they won the game last night.

Let’s Review

The phrase “I was wondering” is a great way to introduce a sentence or indicate a request or statement concerning something you are curious about. Although you never place a question mark directly after it unless used in dialog along with an ellipsis, it is often used in an interrogative sentence ending in a question mark.

It also works well to introduce requests and statements, and your choice of punctuation helps create emphasis to create meaning and tone.