Interrobang

My favourite punctuation mark – Really75px-Interrobang.svg Yes, really!

When it comes to punctuation the Interrobang has to be my favourite mark. To me it is the most expressive of all the punctuation marks but it is so rarely used.So what is it exactly?

“An interrobang is a punctuation mark that combines a question mark and an exclamation point, to show a mixture of query and interjection”. Or better explained as ‘half a question/half an exclamation’.interrobang 03

Traditionally it is a question mark and exclamation combined together (as in the picture to the right).

Tragically because the interrobang isn’t available in all typefaces or fonts usually people use ‘?!’ or ‘!?’ instead. Either is fine and gets the point across. I do prefer the ‘?’ first and then the ‘!’, but it’s all a matter of taste.

The interrobang is great for rhetorical questions. You know, those questions that are asked to make a point and an answer is not needed or even required.

“What business is it of yours75px-Interrobang.svg” – Statement, not a question – do not answer, back away!

There was a punctuation mark called the Rhetorical Question Mark which is an exclamation mark flipped backwards or mirror image. But it isn’t used regularly.

interrobang 04

Also, and most commonly, the interrobang gives words double power and conveys two meanings. It is the ‘performance enhancer’ of the punctuation world.

‘You did what75px-Interrobang.svg

‘Really75px-Interrobang.svg

‘I’m adopted75px-Interrobang.svg

Another fun punctuation mark that should get more use is the ‘snark mark’. The snark indicates when someone is being sarcastic. There is a copyright version see here. The non-copyright version is a full stop followed by a squiggle or tilde ‘.~’

Different punctuation marks can give so much life to one word – for example:

‘Really.’ Statement  – no expression

‘Really?’ Question – voice goes higher at the end

‘Really!’ Exclamation – voice is louder than normal

‘Really75px-Interrobang.svgQuestioning the statement – tone somewhere between questioning and suspicious

‘Really.~’ Sarcasm – voice draws out the first half of the word ‘reeeeeeally’

Punctuation. See, it really is fun!

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