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Recently, I learned about a new punctuation mark: the interrobang. Sounds naughty doesn’t it. Sure you can Google it, if you’d like. But you don’t have to, silly. That’s why I’m here.
Actually, the interrobang is a nonstandard punctuation mark used in various written languages and intended to combine the functions of the question mark (also called the “interrogative point”) and the exclamation mark or exclamation point (known in printers’ jargon as the “bang”).
When a sentence asks a question in an excited manner, expresses excitement or disbelief in the form of a question, or asks a rhetorical question.people layer two different punctuation marks one after the other.
For example: “Can you believe how awesomely delicious this piece of chocolate cyber-cake tastes?!”
See the “?” followed directly by the “!”
That’s the interrobang!
Some people even layer them on top of each other!
According to Wikipedia:
In 1966, Richard Isbell of American Type Founders issued the Americana typeface and included the interrobang as one of the characters, and in 1968, an interrobang key was available on some Remington typewriters.
That said, the interrobang failed to amount to much. It has not become recognized as a standard punctuation mark; although, it has not disappeared completely: Microsoft actually provides several versions of the interrobang character with Microsoft Office.
I don’t usually get into hardcore kinky punctuation, but I have to admit, I definitely enjoyed learning about it and I plan to use it. Not excessively. Just once in a while.
If you really want to lord a little insignificant piece of trivia over your English teacher this year, interrobang her. See what happens.
So go ahead, give me your best sentence using mixed punctuation. Interrobang me; you know you want to.
A while ago, I decided that I would reward the person who made the 3,000th comment on my blog with a gift.
No, there is nothing significant about the number 3,000. I was obsessing over my stats just happened to notice that the number was fast approaching, and the time felt right.
I just wasn’t sure what I was going to offer up.
I figured as an English teacher, it would be most appropriate to offer up a book. But what to send?
And then the day came, and I saw who made that 3,000th comment, and everything became clear.
When I arrived in the bloggersphere last May, the very first person to welcome me was Carl D’Agostino. Carl helped me to network with some of his blogging buddies and he has been a steadfast follower ever since my very first post. In fact, no matter what time of day I post, I can pretty much count on Carl to be the first responder. If he lived closer to me, I would totally have him on my person to contact in an emergency list. He is that reliable and that fast.
I was thrilled when I saw that Carl made the 3,000th comment back in March. And because he is a former teacher, I offered him two book titles: F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic The Great Gatsby (which he once confessed he’d not ever read) or Lynne Truss’ irreverent Eats, Shoot and Leaves: A Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation.
Carl chose Truss’ hilarious book for grammar sticklers.
Then I told Carl there were strings attached to the gift.
I asked him if he would write a short response to the book in which he explained one thing that he enjoyed or learned which I could use in my blog.
Here is his response:
A Book Report by Carl D’Agostino on Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss
If you see how the two pieces of punctuation in the above title affect understanding a great deal, you will enjoy this book and even learn some history. If you don’t see alternative meanings, you need to read this book. Truss says, “Punctuation gives sentences manners.” She explains how punctuation allows sentences to speak to us rather than merely appear before us.
I am glad Mrs. Schuls-Jacobson gave me this reading assignment (over spring break – sheesh).
Carl emailed me a great cartoon to accompany his response. Extra credit bonus points duly noted and awarded. Even if this illustration was created six years ago, it’s still funny. 😉
So thank you and congratulations to Carl! If you like his illustrations, you can find lots more of them here on his blog I Know I Made You Smile.
And to the rest of you, keep those comments coming. My blog will be a year old in May. I’ll probably have some other special surprise up my sleeve.
Unless it is really hot outside, and I’m not wearing sleeves. 😉