Sunday, August 26, 2007

Useful but Unused: The Interrobang

During the various Google searches I conducted for my post Janus Words & Contronyms, I stumbled across the interrobang, a logical little punctuation mark that absolutely no one uses.

What's the interrobang?!

Well, if you asked that question with an interrobang, it would look like this:

What's the interrobang‽

Yep. It's a combination of a question mark and an exclamation point, permitting you to ask an exasperated question without repeating ?!?!?! ad nauseum.

Invented in the 1960's by the head of an advertising agency, the interrobang never caught on. At this point, I wish the interrobang would catch on, as (1) it's a succinct expression of a clearly felt idea and (2) it eliminates those multiple punctuation marks that highlight the casual nature of today's near stream-of-consciousness email writing.

If you want to enhance your reputation as an eccentric among your friends, you can include the interrobang in your Microsoft Word documents by selecting it from the Wingdings 2 tray upon selecting Insert > Symbol from the primary menu.

No comments: