>Interrobang

>Some co-workers came to the resident grammar nerd (me) to ask how many spaces should be around an ellipses (actually they didn’t know that’s what “…” is called, I enlightened them to that fact). Then I introduced them to the wonderful world of the coolest, most under-utilized punctuation mark in the English language: the Interrobang.

The interrobang is a rarely used, nonstandard English-language punctuation mark intended to combine the functions of a question mark and an exclamation point. The typographical character resembles those marks superimposed one over the other. In informal writing, the same effect is achieved by placing the exclamation point after or before the question mark, e.g. “What?!”.

There is also an interesting French derivation known as the Irony Mark.

If I had a New Wave band (which I probably would if I weren’t so lamentably tone-deaf) I would call it Interrobang and we’d all wear all black outfits with big white Interrobangs on the front and I would probably play the synth. But alas, that is not meant to be. Or is it?! (It isn’t.)

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7 thoughts on “>Interrobang

  1. Stefanie says:

    >I always thought it would be a good idea to start a heavy metal band- or a company softball team- called “The Umlauts.” I see I was clearly misguided in my use of underground punctuation; count me in with bells and funny hats on.

  2. Laura says:

    >Fabulous. Another punctuation dork. Except I think it’s unfortunate that the Partnership for a Drug-Free America uses the interrobang in their logo. Great writing Megan.

  3. Colleen says:

    >Megan,Interesting, I had never seen the interrobang before I saw your post. Amazingly, it popped up in our reading — Did you happen to notice it’s reference in The Meaning of Everything (pg 120, last footnote)?!

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