The languages that use the question mark "?" seem to do it in a fairly uniform fashion, but I have the feeling that the full stop "." and the exclamation mark "!" are used slightly differently in different languages, even European ones that use both. This is a matter of degree - which expressions are worth the exclamation and which not.

It seems that the rules for using the comma "," are reasonably easy to find out. But how to find out the possible differences in the use of exclamation mark and the full stop? (I am mostly interested in Finnish, Northern Germanic languages, English and French, but would prefer a general method or source, if one exists.)

  • Can you clarify what your impression is about how '?' and '.' are used in different languages? – Mathieu Bouville May 13 at 11:22
  • Also note that typography is different: French has a (thin, unbreakable) space before double punctuation marks (: ; ? !), English does not. – Mathieu Bouville May 13 at 11:23
  • @MathieuBouville The question mark seems to be used when asking a question (even when the word order of the sentence does not indicate a question), but typically not with indirect questions where the main clause is not a question but the subclause is. In most other cases either the full stop or the exclamation mark is used, but the conditions on which to use seem to have subtle variations from language to another. I would like to know where to learn these. – Tommi Brander May 13 at 12:13

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