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Interrobang

From Academic Kids

Punctuation marks

apostrophe ( ' ) ( )
brackets ( ( ) ) ( [ ] ) ( { } ) ( Template:Unicode )
colon ( : )
comma ( , )
dashes ( Template:Unicode ) ( ) ( ) ( )
ellipsis ( ) ( ... )
exclamation mark ( ! )
full stop/period ( . )
hyphen ( - ) ( Template:Unicode )
interrobang ( Template:Unicode )
question mark ( ? )
quotation marks ( ‘ ’ ) ( “ ” )
semicolon ( ; )
slash/solidus ( / )
space (   ) and interpunct ( )

Other typographer's marks

ampersand ( & )
asterisk ( * ) and asterism ( Template:Unicode )
at ( @ )
backslash ( \ )
bullet ( , more )
dagger ( † ‡ )
degrees ( ° )
number sign ( # )
prime ( )
tilde ( ~ )
underscore ( _ )
vertical bar/pipe ( | )

The interrobang ( ‽ ) is an English-language punctuation mark intended to combine the functions of a question mark and an exclamation point. The typographical character resembles those marks superimposed over one another.

Contents

Display

The interrobang is not a standard punctuation mark. Few modern typefaces or fonts include an interrobang among the available characters. It is at Unicode code point 8253, which is 203D in hexadecimal. It can be used in HTML documents with ‽ or ‽, although the second form has poor support in common web browsers.

Some of these may display as an interrobang in your browser, depending upon which fonts you might have installed:

Image Default font Lucida Sans
Unicode
Arial
Unicode MS
Gentium Code2000 {{Unicode}}
Missing image
Interrobang.png
Image:Interrobang.png

Template:Unicode

Application

Depending on your perspective, a sentence that ends in an interrobang either asks a question in an excited manner or expresses excitement or disbelief in the form of a question.

For example:

  • How much did you spend on those shoes‽
  • You're going out with Marika
  • You traveled to Paris on a submarine

Instead of the interrobang, many writers, especially in informal writing, use multiple punctuation marks to end a sentence expressing surprise and question:

He did what?!

The question mark usually comes first (likely due to its position on a QWERTY keyboard), although there is no universal style rule on the subject.

It is not uncommon for writers in very informal situations (or deliberate parodies) to use several question marks and exclamation marks for even more emphasis:

He did what?!?!?!

Like multiple exclamation marks and multiple question marks, such strings are generally considered very poor style.

Writers used such multiple punctuation marks for decades before the interrobang was invented. They were prevalent in informal media such as print ads and comic books. It was also used in chess commentary with "!?" showing an interesting move that may not be the best, and "?!" showing a dubious move that may nevertheless be difficult to refute.

History

American Martin K. Speckter concocted the interrobang itself in 1962. As the head of an advertising agency, Speckter believed that ads would look better if advertising copywriters conveyed surprised queries using a single mark. He proposed the interrobang concept in an article in the magazine TYPEtalks. Speckter solicited possible names for the new character from readers. Contenders included 'rhet', 'exclarotive', and 'exclamaquest', but he settled on 'interrobang'.

Speckter chose the name to reference the punctuation marks that inspired it. 'Interrogatio' is Latin for 'question' or 'query'; 'bang' is printers' slang for 'exclamation point'.

Graphic treatments for the new mark were also submitted in response to the article.

In 1966, Richard Isbell of American Type Founders issued the Americana typeface and included the interrobang as one of the characters. In 1968, an interrobang key was available on some Remington typewriters. During the 1970s, it was possible to buy replacement interrobang keycaps and strikers for some Smith-Corona typewriters. The interrobang was in vogue for much of the 1960s, with the word 'interrobang' appearing in some dictionaries and the mark itself being featured in magazine and newspaper articles.

The interrobang failed to amount to more than a fad, however, never becoming a standard punctuation mark. Although most fonts don't include the interrobang, it has not disappeared: Microsoft provides several versions of the interrobang character as part of the Wingdings 2 character set available with Microsoft Office; it is present in the fonts Lucida Sans Unicode and Arial Unicode MS; and it was accepted into Unicode.

Trivia

The interrobang is featured in Michael Gerber's Barry Trotter books (parodies of Harry Potter) as Barry's scar; it therefore features in some of the cover images. It also appears regularly on the hoodie worn by the character Sam in the online cartoon "The Moseying."

A reverse and upside down interrobang (combining and ), suitable for starting phrases in Spanish, is called by some a gnaborretni (interrobang backwards).

External links

ja:感嘆修辞疑問符 zh:疑問驚嘆號

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