Are we punctuation deprived? Yes, we have all the usual suspects:
. , ! ‘ ? ;
and others (including the : that began the list).
But does it seem like enough?
BTW I’m no expert on this. A friend once gave me a box of commas (thanks Peter) and said “Use them, but use them judiciously.” Apparently I was ignoring the little buggers.
Language usage and typography are always evolving. No matter what the purists say, it’s neither good nor bad. It just is.
So, I’m here to lament the loss of a perfectly good piece of punctuation. Let me explain.
When someone says something particularly outrageous and we want to respond with incredulity we are inclined to utter “Say what?”
Actually we want to utter is “Say what?!” A question AND an exclamation.
But ?! seems weird when you write it out. So, I present to you the interrobang:
Yes, two birds, one punctuation mark. An interrobang.
The symbol is still deep in Unicode, the Apple OS X, and other mysterious places. But it isn’t readily available on a keyboard near you. It has been ostracized, banished, or perhaps just forgotten. Too bad.
My campaign to return the interrobang to common usage begins now. Think of the possibilities:
You want me to do what
Justin Bieber holds 6 Guinness World Records
Kelp is good for you
As you can tell, the moment for an interrobang revival is well overdue.
Many thanks to George Walker, the extraordinary book artist, for alerting me to this wonderful device. If you don’t know George’s work, stop reading this now and check out his website.
What’s keeping you