Why are there two interrogation marks in spanish?

0
votes

Why is there an interrogation mark in front and one in the back when asked a question in Spanish?
¿ a donde vas?

22996 views
updated MAY 12, 2011
edited by Nathaniel
posted by Ylopez29
I corrected your grammar.

7 Answers

3
votes

Have you ever been reading aloud in English and get to the end of a long sentence only to realize that it is not a statement but a question? And you worry about how to put that last little 'up' sound in your voice when you've only got the last syllable to work with?

Well, worry no more! Because in Spanish you know right from the get-go that you're dealing with an inflection-rising question. Gone are the days of uncertainty. With Spanish all the cards are on the table. No gimmicks, no hidden fees... smile

updated MAY 12, 2011
posted by chaparrito
Nope, I can't say I have had that problem. :P
Perfect answer!
This is the funniest thing I have read in 2011! Thanks for making this drab thursday great :D
2
votes

Spanish doesn't have question words such as in the English question: Did you do it?

A way to directly translate that into Spanish is: ¿Lo hiciste? Did you do it?

If you take out the ¿?, you have a statement: Lo hiciste. You did it.

When speaking, you can inflect to show it is a question. In writing that is not possible and therefore you need the ¿?. And once you do it for one kind of question, you look silly if you don't do it for them all.

updated DIC 4, 2009
posted by Lasairfiona
Yeah, this makes a lot of sense. I don't know if it is actually correct, but, man, it sounds good.
2
votes

I guess you could ask "Why is there only one question mark in English?"

updated DIC 3, 2009
posted by --Mariana--
I like your answer.
I would have said "A better question would be...." Spanish usage makes more sense to me.
1
vote

One thing about the upside down question mark is, that you do not need to place it at the beginning of the sentence.

Fuimos al parque, ¿Es así?

We went to the park, right?

I do think that it is much better when reading to have the question mark to start the question to make it easier to have proper intonation.

updated DIC 4, 2009
edited by Nathaniel
posted by Nathaniel
Fuimos al parque ¿verdad? We went to the park, didn't we?
1
vote

I am not totally sure why they have them but if you notice spanish is sort of backwards from english. We say i don't know and they say no sé. They tend to like to emphasize what they are saying so I believe it is more for emphasis then anything. I am not sure if I am totally correct though.

updated DIC 4, 2009
posted by jessica-kile
1
vote

If you think about the logic of it, it is quite intelligent to start a sentence with a question mark to indicate what you are about to read is a question. Without that, you have to read a few words first to know whether it will be a question or not.

In the early days before computers it must have been very difficult turning your typewriter upside down every time you wanted to put a question mark at the beginning.

updated DIC 4, 2009
posted by 00f2b5a1
Don't be foolish! You took the paper out and turned it upside down and then re-inserted it.
It does beg the question about why isn't it ?Cómo está.
¿ɹǝdɐd ǝɥʇ ɹo 'sıɥʇ ɹoɟ punoɹɐ ɹǝʇndɯoɔ ʎɯ uɹnʇ ı pıp
How did you do that?
My computer has a switch for typing upside down question marks and so I kept my finger on it!
Interesting that it also changes to right to left. Nice for some languages.
That was upside down typing was really cool.
0
votes

I was going to say something similar to Lasairfiona but it's the grammar rather than the words in English, the word did doesn't always indicate a question

Did you do it? Being the question

You did do it. Being a statement.

Of course if you say "You did do it?" with the intonation of a question it becomes one, just as in spanish.

updated DIC 3, 2009
posted by JoeyMoon