I read something written by a native, reliable English speaker, where he ended his sentence and question with a question mark followed by a period.

What he wrote:

[Some preceding text] If you were a horse you could possibly call another horse a horse being, because all living things must have a sense of "self" of existing. Don't they?.

I read about this matter and found that it is not necessary for a period to come after a question mark since the latter serves as the former.

Could it have a specific indication such as:

"The matter is not for any further discussing.", or is it simply a clearer way of stating a rhetorical question, or is it just an unintentional punctuation mistake


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    To unify my previous comments, you can sometimes follow a question mark with a period ("After I finished reading the first chapter of Will you be Quiet, Please?, I realized I'd read the book already."), but a period will never come directly after the question mark. (Although, as you can see, a comma might.) Less often, you can even directly follow a question mark with an exclamation point (this is also called an interrobang: ‽), even though this is highly discouraged. But I have never heard of directly following a question mark with a period in any circumstance. – Jason Bassford May 11 '19 at 18:57
  • Okay. Now, this is more clear. Thanks. I've contacted that person and he stated that because of his old age, it was habitual to him to use it like that. He finds, as the sentence has already ended even if with a question, it needed a period. Though this is not the case in modern English. – Tasneem ZH May 11 '19 at 19:40

This is, if intentional, a very non-standard usage. Normally if a sentence ends with a quotation mark, no terminal period is used. This may well be simply a typographical error.

I have, very occasionally seen a sentence that contains a quoted question, but where the outer sentence is not a question, given a period after the closing quote, with a question mark inside, when the writer uses the style known as logical quotation. For example:

Ms. Jones is particularly moving when she utters Juliet's plaintive cry: "Wherefore are thou Romeo?".

But even this is unusual and non-standard. I suspect a mistake.

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  • Thank you for this timely fashion answer! Yes, I know about the logical quotation but not the name of the term itself. If we supposed it was an intentional doing, wouldn't it mean/indicate something? You have just mentioned that it is considered non-standard usage. – Tasneem ZH May 10 '19 at 23:55
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    @Tasneem ZH If the author did this on purpose, s/he probably had a specific meaning in mind, but I have no idea what it would be. Which is one reason why I suspect an error. – David Siegel May 10 '19 at 23:58
  • Would writing the word "Period" be an equivalent to that punctuation without being a grammar mistake or non-standard approach? (Written like this: Don't they? Period.) – Tasneem ZH May 11 '19 at 0:07
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    @Tasneem writing "Period" like that after a question, or a statement, means "this is final, no question about it". That is a common usage. Whether that is what was intended by the author here, i have no way to know. It is a lot of meaning to put into one punctuation mark, and I would advise agaisnt doing so with that intent, or indeed with any intent, in part because it is no-standard enoguh that one cannot rely on the reader understanding, unless the writer includes a specific explanation of the practice, which would be longer and more distracting than just writing out the intended meaning. – David Siegel May 11 '19 at 0:31

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