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I've read up on several questions before finally deciding to post. This should be something trivial but I would like to know when it is most appropriate or if it is standard practice to end a how title with a question mark. Here's an illustration.

    1. Scenario one(what I think should be correct):

How to build a smart car.

    1. Scenario two:

How to build a smart car?

In my perhaps misguided interpretation, the second scenario makes it seem like whoever is posing the question would like to let us know how whatever action they're asking about can be done.

Say I need to ask a question on this forum, can I phrase my title like: "How to ask questions on this forum?" or "How to ask questions on this forum."?

TLDR: How do I use a question mark with a "How to do x" kind of title?

marked as duplicate by Edwin Ashworth, Community Jun 28 at 13:25

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  • 2
    Your first example is not a question; it looks like the title of an article or book telling the reader how to do it. Adding the question mark makes it into an implied question, but it would be more natural to ask "How do I...?" or "How does one...?" – Kate Bunting Jun 28 at 7:53
  • Thanks, I meant to ask about titles not exactly questions per se. If I need to ask a question, should I add a question mark to the title then? This in my opinion means I want to tell you how to do it. – NelsonGon Jun 28 at 7:58
  • Thanks @Edwin Ashworth, I'll take a look at that. – NelsonGon Jun 28 at 13:26

Your first scenario, the whole "How to build a smart car" should be treated as a noun phrase.

If you want to add a question mark, it is more common to expect a full question, including the Wh- word or adverb. You'd need: how (in this case), an auxiliary verb to form the interrogative, subject, main verb, complements and finally the question mark.

How do you build a smart car?

You can have question marks without a full interrogative scheme, but in my humble opinion that occurs when using the interrogative with surprise or exclamation intention, hence preferring the exclamation point instead.

How come you didn't pass the exam!

  • Thanks, please see my edit above. Say I need to ask a question on this forum, can I phrase my title like: "How to ask questions on this forum?" or "How to ask questions on this forum."? – NelsonGon Jun 28 at 8:01
  • I agree with Kate. But to me, "How to ask questions on this forum? is incorrect in any context, in this forum or elsewhere. – fonema Jimena Jun 28 at 8:05
  • Alright, I just find titles of the form "How to build a smart car?" a bit "weird". – NelsonGon Jun 28 at 8:07
  • Using a question mark after a phrase that isn't a question is weird. You need to ask "How do I ask questions on this forum?" – Kate Bunting Jun 28 at 13:52

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