Consider these two sentences:

But aren't you a superhero?

But aren't you a superhero.

One of them ends in a question mark while the other ends in a full-stop. My grammar checker doesn't respond to either of them. So, which one is correct?

  • 2
    The first one is correct. The second one is strictly incorrect, but you might use it for stylistic reasons, such as to emphasize a flat, non-questionlike tone, or confusion (as if you're so confused that you aren't sure yourself if you're asking a question or not), or extreme casualness in your punctuation. But as a rule, all questions in written English end in question marks.
    – Oosaka
    Mar 7, 2017 at 13:08
  • You may be thinking that you do not need the question mark if you mean the question rhetorically (using a challenging or daring tone, when you actually know the answer): You say you cannot help me and claim you have no such ability. But aren't you a superhero? Mar 7, 2017 at 17:17

2 Answers 2


Your grammar checker is confused by But.

Use a question mark for a direct question, like your first example. Use a period for an indirect question. Your example can only be a direct question so it takes a question mark.

However, consider

You are a superhero.


You are a superhero?

There are occasions when either construction is fine depending on what you're trying to accomplish.

Or even

You are a super hero!


My approach is when you have some sentence with you containing "but", you need to consider the remaining part of the sentence ignoring the but and also check the punctuation.

Consider the following two sentences: 1. But, it is OK. 2. But, aren't you a super hero?

Removing but they still carry their sense. 1. It is OK. Consoling someone. Ended with period. 2. Aren't you a super hero? Questioned someone if he is a super hero or not.

It ultimately requires question mark.

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