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What is the proper way to punctuate a question that is posed within a statement like in the following example?

Associated with my interest in the patterns that structure aquatic ecosystems is the question of what factors control the distribution and cycling of resources in aquatic systems.

The second part of the sentence (after the what) is a question, but the sentence as a whole is a statement. Is the way I have it punctuated correct and what rules govern this sort of thing?

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3 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

The sentence is fine as it stands. If you wanted to make it a bit clearer, you could break out the question, something like this:

Associated with my interest in the patterns that structure aquatic ecosystems is this question: "What factors control the distribution and cycling of resources in aquatic systems?"

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In this context, it is not actually a question, and is correct.

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Question marks are used when you directly ask a question.

"Do you like apples?"

but

"David asked whether Tom liked apples."

and

"I am curious whether Tom likes apples."

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