TNB Night Owl – Weird Punctuation

That thing at the top of your screen is called an interbang.  Or interabang.  Or interrobang.  It doesn’t really matter what it’s called, because almost nobody uses it.

That was not the intent.  It was created in 1967 by the American Type Founders company, who thought the time had come to eradicate the annoyance of demonstrating strong surprise with two consecutive punctuation marks.  In the days before computers could easily aid in font creation, the ATF dominated the field, and what they said generally went.

The interbang went… nowhere.  It was used in a few stories, a few books, and then effectively faded into obscurity.  Now it’s mainly used for the oddity factor, in places like Italian television and bookstore names.

It remains a technically valid piece of punctuation, even if it’s not found on most keyboards.  Feel free to use it, if you can figure out how to type it.

It’s really, really useful.~

That tilde at the end of that sentence wasn’t a typographical error.  It, combined with the period before it (  .~  ) is another piece of odd punctuation, this one created much more recently.  It’s called the snark mark.  

Tired of having to slap a /sarc after every tongue-in-cheek comment to ensure that someone doesn’t really think you’re a rabid nazi weasel sniffer?  Well, that’s where the snark mark comes in.  Created in 2007 by Choz Cunningham, it provides actual punctuation to tell people that you’re not being serious.

And unlike most modern punctuation marks, neither of these is copyrighted.  Is that not awesome?! .~

Question of the night: Considering it’s my birthday today, I ask you… what would you like to get for a birthday gift, outside of people being moved into or out of political office?

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About AlienMotives 1992 Articles
Ex-Navy Reactor Operator turned bookseller. Father of an amazing girl and husband to an amazing wife. Tired of willful political blindness, but never tired of politics. Hopeful for the future.