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¡Hola, amigas y amigos de SpanishCompadres.com! In this post, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the Spanish upside down question mark.

The Spanish upside down question mark or Spanish inverted question mark (¿) is a punctuation mark that indicates the beginning of a question. Examples: [1] ¿Cuál es tu nombre? (What’s your name?) [2] —¿Qué vamos a comer? —preguntó (—What are we going to eat? —he asked. [3] ¿Dónde está el restaurante? Olvidé mirarlo en la guía. (Where is the restaurant? I forgot to look it up in the guide). The correct use of the Spanish upside down question mark is indicative of a speaker’s knowledge of the rules of the Spanish language. 

In this post , we’ll show how to use the Spanish upside down question mark so you don’t make mistakes when writing questions. 

 

Table of contents

 

Spanish upside down question mark: rule #1

Unlike other languages like English, question marks ¿? are double in Spanish, just like parentheses () and square brackets []. Therefore, it’s incorrect to omit the inverted at the beginning of questions in Spanish. Keep this in mind, since it’s becoming more and more common to ignore this rule of the Spanish language, especially when chatting or posting on social media. Examples:

  • ¿Cómo estás? (How are you?) NOT Cómo estás?
  • ¿Cuántos años tienes? (How old are you?) NOT Cuántos años tienes?
  • ¿De qué país vienes? (What country are you from?) NOT De qué país vienes?
  • ¿Cuál es tu país favorito en Latinoamérica? (What’s your favorite country in Latin America?) NOT Cuál es tu país favorito en Latinoamérica?
  • ¿Prefieres cocinar o salir a comer? (Do you prefer cooking or eating out?) NOT Prefieres cocinar o salir a comer? 

 

Spanish upside down question mark: rule #2

You also need to know that at the end of a question you MUST use a “regular” question mark (?) and that after this closing question mark you can write any punctuation mark, except a period (.). Examples:

  • ¿Cómo te llamas?, ¿cuántos años tienes? (What’s your name?, How old are you?)
  • Bien, ¿y tú? (Good, how about you?)
  • ¿Desde qué país viene? (Marque con una X). / What country are you from? (Mark with an X).

 

Spanish upside down question mark: rule #3

When the closing sign is at the end of a sentence, the next word must start with a capital letter. Examples:

  • ¿Tienes frío? Toma mi abrigo. (Are you cold? Take my coat.)
  • ¿Cómo lo hiciste? De verdad quiero saber. (How did you do it? I really want to know.)
  • ¿Qué te pareció? Sé honesto, por favor. (What do you think? Be honest, please.)

 

How to type the Spanish upside down question mark on a Windows computer?

Being able to type the Spanish upside down question mark character on computers and mobile devices is very important. This is how you do it on Windows: type alt + 0191 at the same time

 

How to type the Spanish upside down question mark on a Mac computer?

On a Mac computer, type the following combination of keys: alt + Shift + ?

 

How to type the Spanish upside down question mark on an Android phone?

On an Android device, press and hold the “?” symbol and drag your finger up to select the Spanish upside down question mark.

 

How to type the Spanish upside down question mark on iOS phone?

On an iPhone, press and hold the “?” symbol and drag your finger up to select the Spanish upside down question mark (same procedure as Android).

 

Conclusion

The massive technology boom of our era revealed that the Spanish upside down question mark is an endangered species in the realm of Spanish punctuation marks. This symbol is often omitted by Spanish speakers when chatting or posting comments online, in an informal setting. This is, however, incorrect and shows little care for punctuation rules. In formal, academic and professional professional documents, a question without an inverted question mark at the beginning would greatly diminish the reliability and harm the readers’ perception of such pieces of writing.

Remember you can use any punctuation mark after a question, except a period. Don’t forget that if the question is at the end of a sentence, the next sentence must start with a capital initial letter. Paying attention to all these little details will greatly improve your written Spanish. Writing in another language is a valuable skill in today’s globalized world.   

 

Resources

  • Ortografía de los signos de interrogación y exclamación. Available at https://www.rae.es/consultas/ortografia-de-los-signos-de-interrogacion-y-exclamacion

 

 

 

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