Upside down question mark – Inverted question and exclamation marks

Spanish question mark | What is the Spanish question mark?

What is a Spanish question mark?

The upside-down question mark

The only languages that use upside-down question marks (inverted question marks) are Spanish and Catalan. As Spanish is more widely spoken, we will look at all our examples in Spanish.

In Spanish, questions require both opening and closing question marks. The opener is upside down, the closing one a standard question mark.

The use of inverted question marks in Spanish was adopted in the 18th century to make the written word more clear and easy to understand. Spanish syntax does not always clearly demonstrate whether a sentence is, from the start, a question. It is a clever and extremely useful way to instantly recognise that a question is being asked.

¿Hay un banco cerca de la estación? (Is there a bank near the station?)

However, without the inverted and normal question marks, this sentence reads

Hay un banco cerca de la estación (There is a bank near the station)

This example demonstrates how useful – and at times essential – the inverted question mark is in the Spanish language.

It’s important to know when to place the inverted and standard question marks in Spanish text:

  • Hola ¿como estas? (Hello, how are you?)
  • Ella me pregunta ¿que hora es? (She asks me “what time is it?”)

Note that the question marks contain only the question, not the greeting or other surrounding information.

In Spanish informal writing, the opening inverted question mark is often omitted, but this is grammatically incorrect, and should be avoided.

How do you make an upside-down question mark?

If using a PC, hold down shift + ctrl + alt + question mark on your keyboard to get the upside-down question mark. Or, if using Word, go to Insert drop-down menu, then Symbol and you’ll find the inverted question mark there.

If using a Mac, hold down shift + alt (or option) + question mark.

Upside down question and exclamation (text symbols on keyboard)

¡Hola! Upside down question ¿ and upside exclamation ¡ marks are native to Spanish language. That’s why operating system developers of Windows, Mac and Linux made it possible to type upside down characters ¿¡ straight from keyboard. I’ll show you how to do it with using different techniques depending on your Operating System and tastes.

Upside down text

˙sloqɯʎs ƃuısn ʎq upside down sʇxǝʇ ǝloɥʍ dılɟ oʇ ǝboqɐ pǝllɐɔ ɹoʇɐɹǝuǝƃ ƃuıʇsǝɹǝʇuı uɐ ǝsn uɐɔ noʎ ʇɐɥʇ ʎɐs oʇ ʇuǝɯoɯ ʇɥƃıɹ ǝɥʇ ɹoɟ ʇıɐʍ ʇ,uplnoϽ

Aboqe generator is a tool that can flip your text upside down by utilising special letters, symbols and characters. Turn messages 180° with ǝboqɐ. For Facebook, MySpace, Google+, etc.

How to type upside down characters?

Choose your system and find out.


From Keyboard
Alt Codes
Shift States

Configure your keyboard layout in Windows so that you can type all additional symbols you want as easy as any other text. Takes about 5-10 minutes to set things up, but you’ll be typing like a boss.
You can assign upside down symbols and any other text characters to your keyboard using this technique.

Character Map

CharMap allows you to view and use all characters and symbols available in all fonts (some examples of fonts are «Arial», «Times New Roman», «Webdings») installed on your computer. You can input upside down symbols using it.


Emoji on iOS (iPhone, iPad and iPod touch)

Simple and beautiful way to discover how to add a virtual keyboard for Emoji symbols visible as small pictures. The keyboard itself is preinstalled on your iOS device, so you don’t have to download, or buy anything.

Keyboard viewer

Character Palette

Character Palette allows you to view and use all characters and symbols, including upside down signs, available in all fonts (some examples of fonts are «Arial», «Times New Roman», «Webdings») installed on your computer.


From Keyboard
Character map

Character map allows you to view and use all characters and symbols available in all fonts (some examples of fonts are «Arial», «Times New Roman», «Webdings») installed on your computer. It can also help you lookup Unicode codes for entering symbols with keyboard.

HTML code

Following is a list of HTML and JavaScript entities for upside down symbols. In Javascript you should write like a = «this \u2669 symbol» if you want to include a special symbol in a string.

What upside down marks means

Upside down question and exclamation marks are punctuation marks of Spanish language used to begin interrogative and exclamatory sentences. They can also be combined in several ways to express the combination of a question and surprise or disbelief. The initial marks are normally mirrored at the end of the sentence or clause by the common ? and ! marks used in most other languages.

I’ll give you several examples of use for clearence.

¡Y tú quién te crees que eres? («Who do you think you are?!»)

¿¡Y tú quién te crees que eres!?, ¡¿Y tú quién te crees que eres?!

¿Por qué dices eso? («Why do you say that?»)

More information on usage and stuff can be found on Inverted question mark and exclamation point article on Wikipedia. I’ll proceed with the ways you can type upside down characters from keyboard.

why are question marks upside down?

It is a good question! Very explainable when you think about the concept of ‘what is a question’ in general.

Think about this: when you’re asking a question of someone, don’t you have to inflect your voice differently than if you’re just making a statement? Well, what if you’re not speaking and just writing, how do you make sure people know they’re about to read a question and not a general statement since there’s no way to inflect your voice while silently reading? I mean, we don’t want people wandering into questions thinking that they’re statements and visa-versa, as this would cause some interesting problems!

Therefore, we can assume that the inverted question mark arose in order to warn people of an impending question! We don’t need an inverted question mark in English though because we have the auxiliary verb ‘do’, something that Spanish doesn’t have!

Think about it; in English we know that we’re about to read a question when we see a sentence that starts with some form of «do». «Do you have change?», «Do you have a moment?», «Does that man know his fly is open?» , etc. Even WITHOUT the question mark at the end!

However, Spanish doesn’t have any word like that! If I wrote in Spanish (and did not speak): «A ti te gusta la sopa» with no punctuation, it could be either a statement or a question! It could either mean «You like the soup», stating a fact, or «Do you like the soup?», asking a question. There’s no way to tell! That leaves a lot of ambiguity, which is something a writer never wants (well not usually, anyway!).

Therefore, the regular question mark was introduced in order to let readers know that this sentence is a question, not a statement of fact. However, the inverted question mark is helpful in Spanish because it lets people know BEFORE THE END of the sentence what they’re about to read is a question, which allows them to interpret it right the first time, rather than making them go back again and re-read the phrase as a question!

Make sense? Isn’t it interesting?

Edit: Read the comments of this post, someone adds a few other cases where the «Do» is not the tip-off word to an oncoming question in English.

Edit: had to make a couple spelling fixes!

  • Mar 15, 2013
  • | Edited by Rocoso Mar 15, 2013
  • | link

How to type upside down question mark?

There are multiple keys that must be pressed on the keyboard to make these symbols.

  • For the upside down question mark type: Alt + 168
  • For the upside down exclamation point type: Alt + 173

You can learn how to make other Spanish accent marks here: Upside Down Exclamation Point

On my keyboard I can do all accents save the tilde and punctuation. Our teacher recommended this: on their site they have ‘keyboards’ for various languages — they call it lexibar. You download the one for Spanish and then it is a small icon on your toolbar when you need a symbol you drag and drop or just click. The icon for the Spanish one is the flag of Spain — though our teacher is Mexican!

How type turn questionnaire in Word which comand is for that?

How to type the inverted question mark, and center como above of the letter?

You can use Alt + 168 to type the upside down question mark.
Here’s a site that lets you type the rest of the accent mark keys (and the upside down exclamation mark):

Hmmm. I use Windows 10®. I have my American (estadounidense) keyboard configured as «English International» since Windows and Word first came out (¿1993?). I use MS Word 10® almost exclusively. I have my spell checker to automatically detect the language. I write more in Spanish than in English (good practice). I don’t have to use the ALT keys to invoke the «¡» or the «¿» unless the spell checker gets confused (not very often). To type the accented vowels, I press the apostrophe and then the letter (a, e, i, o, u, etc.). It is second nature to me, although it may seem awkward to some. For the eñe I must type the «~» followed by the «n». I don’t know why that is. But that’s second nature also.

The only time I’ve had comments about people saying that they don’t understand my typing is when I am using mIRC®. That is an old DOS based chat client (It works under Windows). I have the most current version, but I still get the comments. I don’t know why that is. I presume that people here at SD see my typing correctly.

Of course, the ALT keys can always be used, but i find it takes too much time.

Now, let me see if the «proof is in the pudding» here at SD:

«La casa está en Teruel. No sé en dónde está Teruel. Ah, sí, está en España. Que yo sepa, el vudú no se practica en ninguna parte de España. ¿Verdad? ¡Gracias por decírmelo!»

Ah, I had to type the «~» in «España» (expected). And I did have to use the ALT keys for «¿» and «¡». That may be because of a lack of a spell checker here.

Does my example show up correctly?

How to Do an Upside Down Question Mark » VripMaster

¿Need to type a question in Spanish? Creating an upside down question mark, also known as an inverted question, isn’t hard to do whether you have a Mac or a PC. Read this article to discover helpful keyboard tricks to generate an upside down question mark.

Typing an Inverted Question on a PC

  1. Click where you want your upside down question mark to appear. Before creating your inverted question mark, make sure to click into the right spot on your screen. For example: if you’re working on a question in Spanish, position your cursor at the beginning of the sentence and click.

  2. Locate the Alt key on your keyboard. Look to the lower right and left side corners of your keyboard, right next to the space bar. You’ll see two buttons labeled as Alt. You’ll only need to use one of the two Alt keys, depending on your personal preference. If you’re predominantly right handed, for example, you might want to use the left Alt key.

  3. Press the Alt key, and hold it down. Then, with your other hand, type 0191 on the numerical part of your keyboard. If this code doesn’t work, try typing the numbers 168 while still holding down the Alt key.

  4. Release the Alt key. Your inverted symbol will appear on your screen in the position of your cursor.

Using Shift and Option Keys on a Mac

  1. Click where you want your upside down question mark to appear. Before creating your inverted question mark, make sure to click into the right spot on your screen. For example: if you’re working on a question in Spanish, position your cursor at the beginning of the sentence and click.

  2. Locate the Shift, Option, and regular question mark key on your keyboard. To find the Shift and Options key, look to the lower left hand side of your keyboard. You’ll find the Shift key right next to the letter Z, and the Option key right beneath the letter Z. The regular question mark key is located on the lower right hand side of the keyboard.

  3. Press Shift, then Option, then the question mark key. Try to hold down these keys in this order.

  4. Release the keys. Once you let go of the keys, your inverted question mark will appear wherever you previously positioned your cursor.

Using Symbols on a Mac

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