The Interro what?!

Interrobang big

Interrobang big (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I would like to see this rare punctuation mark in common usage. It has the strange name of Interrobang or interabang and it looks like the picture on the left. And as you can see, it is a combination of a question mark and an exclamation mark. If you use Microsoft Word, then you will find it under ‘more symbols’ with the character code 203D. I recognise the first part of its name associates with the word ‘interrogate’ or ‘to question’, and I’d like to think it is a question with a ‘bang’.

How many times has a writer frustrated over whether to end a sentence with a question mark or an exclamation, as both appear necessary? This is where the handy Interrobang comes to the fore. For example, it suits the What the?! situation. Another example would be in dialogue where the character is shouting out an angry question. “Where do you think you’re going?!”

What do you think? Would you like to see the Interrobang in common usage?

3 comments on “The Interro what?!

  1. Laura says:

    Love the interrobang. I didn’t realize that it was available as a symbol in MS Word. Now I’ll have to use it. As far as referring to the exclamation point as a bang, I’ve only heard or read one usage — at Yahoo!, the shortened form of Y! is referred to as a “Y bang.”

  2. Claire Wood says:

    Interesting. Nice to learn something new. However it’s an ugly symbol. I like the old ?!?!?! especially in bold. It invites the reader to laugh with the writer. However no doubt we could get used to it.

  3. mirrortac says:

    Thanks for the comments Laura and Claire. I recently discovered that the ‘bang’ was used as a printing term for exclamation marks, which I am surprised to learn were not available on typewriters before 1970.

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