writing

Cas Lester Champions the Interrobang. (What?!)

Do you ever write a question and wonder whether to put a ? or a ! at the end and then end up putting both?

Maybe like in these instances:

‘What?!‘

or

‘Are you kidding me?!’

And then there’s the whole problem of whether to put the ! before the ?,  or the ? before the !.

Well, I have the answer. I present: ‘The Interrobang’!

interrobang 1

No, I have not made this up.

It is a real, but ‘non standard’ punctuation mark. It’s obviously a cunning combination of the question mark and the exclamation mark.

Hence it’s name. The question mark is also known as the ‘Interrogative Mark’, and the nickname used by printers and programmers for the exclamation mark is a ‘bang’. Who knew!?

interrobang 3

Actually, it WAS put onto some typewriter keyboards in the 1960s and 1970s, and, rumour has it, you can find it on some computers . . . but I can’t find it on mine.

It was invented by an American advertising executive called Martin K Speckter in 1962. He thought it would look powerful in adverts which asked rhetorical questions. He also asked people to come up with a name for it. Suggestions included ‘exlamaquest’ and ‘QuizDing’ but he preferred ‘interrobang’.

Interestingly there is no set way of writing one:  Which of these would you go for?

interrobangs

Or there’s this one:

interrobang 5

I think it’s an ingenious invention, and if I had it on my computer I’d use it all the time.

BTW It’s National Punctuation Day on the 24th of this month.  Blimey! Who knew?!interrobang 2

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