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Friday, August 6, 2010

Friday 8/6


If you read the short welcome note on the side panel of my blog, you’ll see there’s a little part about how you’ll “maybe even learn something.”  Today’s one of those days. 

Have you ever heard of an interrobang?  No?  Good.  (If you have, then hats off to you, but for the majority of the English-speaking population, this is new.)  The first time I read about it, my first thought was, the whaty-what?  And, how come I never knew about this?  Well, the concept of the interrobang has been around for a while.  You’ve probably even been in a situation where you could have used one.  It’s used when someone needs to ask a question, but in a very emphatic way.  Like so:

You were driving 60 in a school zone?!
Is that hot dog REALLY a whole foot long!?

The difference between the two is the order of the question mark and the exclamation point.  Which one is correct?  Both are actually okay, but the first one is more commonly practiced (that is, if you can find it commonly practiced).  But there’s an alternative to having to choose.  It’s called the interrobang, or the quesclamation mark.  (I like quesclamation mark because I like mixing words together.)  It looks like this:
It’s basically just an exclamation point sitting laid over top of a question mark.  And it’s completely legit, too.  It doesn’t work with every font, though.   Have you noticed, yet, that this post isn’t in the normal Times New Roman?  It’s Arial font.  Arial has the quesclamation built-in and Times New Roman doesn’t.  You just type “203D” and then hold “alt” and push “x”.  Voila!  It also works with Calibri and Helvetica.  You should try it.  It’s mildly fun.

Now, you can spend more time writing emphatic questions and less time pondering the proper placement of your punctuation. 

So get out there and exercise your punctual prowess!  What are you waiting for


Matt Baxter said...

I like the idea of the "interrobang." Reminds me of a word I might have made up: digrestive. A combination of digress and restive (restless).

In the meantime, on a grammatical note, I believe an emphatic question is fine with just the exclamation mark, because the question is generally implied by the words.

Cole Garrett said...

Good point. An emphatic question is indeed probably implied by the words. You would have to agree, though, that it's kind of like having another flavor of wrench to tighten or loosen the same nut. You could use a crescent or an adjustable wrench. Now, readers can use their brand new socket wrench.

Choice is good! And the cool part about this tool is, you can even choose what you want to call it: Interrobang or Quesclamation.


anniekatherine said...

I'll stick with my "?!" ... it's very dramatic to me. And oh, I love to be dramatic.

But still! Fun!

Anonymous said...

That's cool but what about the other wierd wingdings that you chan???!!!?!??!?!?!?!??!?!??!?!?!?!?!??!??!?!??!??!

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