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
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.