Do you know people who put a question mark at the end of sentences that aren’t questions? (Is it you?)
“We were going downtown? To go shopping? And I ran into this friend?”
It’s usually girls and young women who do this – perhaps as a subtle attempt to have people affirm them and what they’re saying, and not to come across as better than the group they’re in – although those who use it probably aren’t conscious of it that way.
Recently, I heard two adults using question mark statements, and it gave a really strange impression. The first was the Vice President of Personnel for a global hi-tech firm speaking on a webinar about marketing yourself to prospective employers. She must have high credentials to be in her position, and her information was interesting, but listening to her make a question of every statement was excruciating, and took away completely from her credibility.
The second was an architect in his late twenties – he was giving a slide presentation to several hundred people about a trip he had taken around the world studying vernacular architecture. This man was clearly brilliant, articulate, and handsome to boot, but he also spoke in question marks. “I noticed they were using tin roofs? And this changed the shape of their traditional houses?”
Why don’t teachers and parents stomp out this bad habit before it gets ingrained? If people are saying something they should feel empowered to make a statement, rather than ask a question. If they went somewhere, saw something, did an activity, then they should say it — not ask it!