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Interrobang and interabang

An interrobang is a punctuation mark that consists of an exclamation point and a question mark superimposed on top of one another. An interrobang is a non-standard punctuation mark meant to signify a sentence that is a question as well as an exclamation. The interrobang is the invention of Martin Speckter who owned an advertising agency. Speckter suggested adoption of the interrobang in 1962 to replace the use of the question mark in conjunction with the exclamation point in advertising copy. The interrobang was included in Americana typeface by the American Type Founders in 1966, and Remington Rand added the interrobang as an optional key in 1968. By the 1970s enthusiasm for the new punctuation mark ebbed and the interrobang is almost never seen, today. Interestingly, the interrobang is still found in the Unicode set. The word interrobang, originally spelled as interabang, comes from the combination of interrogative or question mark and bang, which is printers’ slang for the exclamation point.


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Examples

How does the world end. With an interrobang or a whimper‽ (The Guardian)

The interrobang: A combination exclamation point and question mark, the interrobang is a singular way to express an emphatic question. (The Los Angeles Times)

Meet the interrobang. Unless you happen to be a typographic expert, you probably haven’t encountered the hybrid question mark-exclamation point. (The Atlantic Magazine)

Via Winterbottom’s frequent footnotes, we learn that there is such a thing as an interrobang, “a tremendous typographical invention, used where a question is too loud or emphatic to expect that the speaker will listen to the answer.” (The Scotland Herald)

Remington Rand made an interrobang key for one of its typewriters. (The Weekly Standard)

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