Did you know that another name for a question mark is “an interrogative point” and another name for an exclamation mark is “bang” in printer’s jargon (as cited in Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interrobang)? When used together they are known as an interrobang and can look like either the attached image or ?! or !?
The history of the interrobang
World Wide Words website http://www.worldwidewords.org/weirdwords/ww-int1.htm writes that Martin Speckter invented and named the interrobang in 1962 after “asking the readers of TYPEtalks Magazine, which he then edited, to suggest a shape and a name for the character”.
Another good article on this can be found at Interrobang-MKS: http://www.interrobang-mks.com/ which suggests that Martin Speckter named the interrobang after the “Latin for query and the proofreader’s term for exclamation”. It is also explained here that it “was created to fill a gap in our punctuation system”.
When would you use interrobangs?
- A question with added excitement and curiosity would be one such use of an interrobang “Did you pass your exam?!”
- A rhetorical question such as “Are you crazy?!”, “Is the pope catholic!?” or “How many times have a told you to stop jumping on the bed?!”
Note: This may appear to be contrary to yesterday’s blog where I said that it is advisable to only use one punctuation mark at the end of a sentence (Note 157 – Multiple questions marks and punctuation marks); however, there I was explaining how it is unnecessary to use the same punctuation mark twice.
My thoughts: I love learning new things. I’ve never used both the question mark and exclamation mark together before, but there is always a first time.
Quick question: When using ‘?!’ or ‘!?’, does anyone know if there is a particular order in which the punctuation marks go in?
Blog news: Just found out that this blog (mywritingnotebook) has been featured in the Members’ Club section of Writing Magazine for November 2011. Thank you Sally Jenkins for letting me know earlier today -my copy of the magazine was waiting for me on the doormat when I got home from work.
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World Wide Words website http://www.worldwidewords.org/weirdwords/ww-int1.htm