Expatriot Act

The university of these days is a collection of books.

21 July 2006

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.)

7 Comments:

Blogger Stefanie said...

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.

5:23 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

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.

4:15 PM  
Blogger Justin said...

For lack of better place to put this.

http://www.macosxhints.com/article.php?story=20050130184054216

9:05 PM  
Blogger Burntdisk said...

"I just saw an interrrobang the other night..." Somehow, it doesn't sound like punctuation to me...

1:28 PM  
Blogger Colleen said...

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)?!

10:04 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

That's where I got it from! I read that and thought, wow, interrobang. Now that's something I can get behind.

10:10 AM  
Blogger Burntdisk said...

Megan, was that last comment some kind of Freudian slip? I can see the novel now, The Librarian and her 20 Friends, or the Interrobang

4:18 PM  

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