November 8th 2004 Interrobang


While browsing Wikipedia the other day, I learned that there is a character known as the “interrobang”. I’d print it out here on the screen for you, but you can only view it if your computer can properly read Unicode characters. Since many can’t, I’ve left it out; you’ll have to take a look at the Wikipedia entry to see what it looks like, but basically it is a combination of a question mark and an exclamation point, and evidently it is an acceptable typesetting punctuation mark. It was first introduced to avoid constructions such as “You’re going out with Jane?!”, since multiple quotation marks at the end of sentences are considered bad form. From what I understand, the mark was first devised in 1962 by an advertising executive. More information is available on Wikipedia.

Perhaps I’m just a dork, but I find this fascinating. Imagine that: a whole punctuation mark that I didn’t even know existed! You truly do learn something everyday.

Because I find the interrobang so freakin’ cool, I’m going to start using it everyday. It’s just that awesome. Well…maybe not everyday, but certainly as often as possible. The interrobang has fallen out of use since the 1960’s, but I think it’s high time we brought it back. The world has gone long enough without the interrobang. I vow to use the interrobang whenever possible from now on. Who’s with me?