Upside Down Question Mark – How to Use It
If you’re multilingual, you might know that some languages use different alphabets. From Arabic to Sanskrit to East Asian languages (like Korean and Mandarin): the shape and form of written communication evolved much differently to that of Latin or Germanic root. However, even between European languages exist different accented letters and punctuation. One of which being the upside down question mark. In today’s blog, we’ll uncover the purpose of such punctuation, highlight some useful questions and answers in Spanish, and discuss other unique punctuation marks.
What is an Upside Down Question Mark?
An Upside Down Question Mark looks exactly as it’s described – ¿. It is used in the Spanish language at the beginning of every question.
In Spanish, the structure of a question is indistinguishable from that of a statement. An Upside Down Question Question Mark is therefore used at the start of a question to avoid any confusion.
- “Vas a la playa” You are going to the beach.
- “¿Vas a la playa?” Are you going to the beach?
This punctuation can also be used in the middle of a sentence if it contains an interrogative cause. This clause is a question-like phrase that could stand alone or be placed within a sentence. An “if this, then why this?” sort of situation.
- “Estoy bien, ¿y tú?” I’m well, and you?
- “Si no hoy clases, ¿quieres ver una película conmigo?” If there are no classes, do you want to see a movie with me?
How to Type the Symbol
- MacBook: Alt + Shift + ?
- Windows: Alt + 0191
- Chromebook: Ctrl + Shift followed by u + 00bf
- Android/iOS: Hold the “?’ symbol then drag finger to Upside Down Question Mark
Useful Questions in Spanish + Their Answers
The US is the second-largest Spanish-speaking country in the world, even ahead of Spain itself. In fact 22 countries speak Spanish as their first language. Thus making it one of the more accessible and inclusive modes of communication.
Here are some useful questions (and their answers) to know in Spanish. Don’t forget to use the Upside Down Question Mark if you’re chatting over email or text.
Q: “Hola, ¿cómo te llamas?.” Hello what’s your name?
A: “Soy Lydia.” I’m Lydia
Q: “¿Que tal?” How are you?
A: “Muy Bien, gracias. ¿Y tú?”Very well, thank you. And you?
Q: “¿De donde eres?” Where are you from?
A: “Soy de los Estados Unidos.” I’m from the US.
Q: “¿Hablas otros idiomas?” Do you speak other languages?
A: “Sí, hablo inglés y coreano.” Yes, I speak English and Korean.
Q: “¿Que hora es?” What time is it?
A: “Es la una.” It’s 1 o’clock.
Q: “¿Qué día es?” What day is it?
A: “Es jueves.” It’s Thursday.
Q: “¿Dónde está el baño?” Where’s the bathroom?
A: “Por ahí.” Over there.
Other Upside Down Punctation Marks
The Upside Down Question Mark isn’t the only punctuation that gets flipped over. Exclamation points are also used to highlight exclamatory sentences. It follows very similar rules to that of the question mark.
- “¡Hola!” Hello!
- “Si cometes un error, ¡no te preocupes!” If you make a mistake, don’t worry!
Unlike the upside down question mark, Spanish native speakers are less strict about using ¡ in informal written communication.
How to Type It
- Macbook: Alt + 1
- Windows: Alt + 0161
- Chromebook: Ctrl + Shift followed by u + 00a1
- Android/iOS: Hold the “!” symbol and drag finger to select ¡ symbol