Talk:Inverted question and exclamation marks

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Real Academia[edit]

All of these should be put into italics, due to the fact that they are all in another language. I won't do it unless it is confirmed with a person better in grammer then I am. (talk) 23:46, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

Removed this[edit]

I removed the following from the article: "Although it has now fallen into disuse, it is actually correct usage in Spanish to begin a sentence with an opening inverted exclamation mark ('¡') and end it with a question mark ('?'), or vice-versa, for statements that are questions but also have a clear sense of exclamation or surprise such as: ¡Y tú qué te crees? ("Who do you think you are?!")."

This comment was surely made by a person who is uneducated/unknowledgeable in the subject. As a native Spanish speaker, I can assure you that '¡' and '¿' are well alive and failure to use it is an error. I NEVER ever saw such a thing as opening with '¡' and ending with '?'. The correct usage in that case would be to open with '¡¿' and end with '?!' F15x28 04:06, 7 September 2006 (UTC)

Don't know if the ! ? thing is correct or not, but its going to be removed, the "Adaptation in English" needs to be removed, too. That makes little sense without the !...? section.

Maybe F15x28 is a native speaker, but the fact that s/he "NEVER ever saw such a thing as opening with '¡' and ending with '?'" doesn't mean anything (or maybe, that s/he doesn't read enough...).
In any case, I reverted his edits. See this entry, section 3 b. -- 11:02, 17 September 2006 (UTC)

The link given above ("") does indeed mention the possibility to use mixed question and exclamation marks, and it lists other possibilities, such as double marks, but I, like F15x28, have never seen anything like that, and upon seeing it, would deem it very bad Spanish, or very bad marketingoid typography. I would suggest to change the wording of the article, so that, even if the possibility is mentioned, it is said that it is not at all customary and it is clearly very bad style.-- 21:52, 1 November 2006 (UTC)

I'm a native spanish speaker, and I've never seen this usage of mixed marks. Even if RAE claims that this is allowed, it must be noticed that a writer can choose any weird use that conveys the idea she is trying to present, without asking permission to the Academy, so the fact that one could use ¿...! isn't more interesting that the fact that one could use ¡¡¡...!!!, ¡¿...?!, ¡!¡!...!¡!¡ or any other combination, despite what RAE allows or disallows. Non-spanish speakers must notice that RAE is just a (prestigious) institution that studies and regulates the language, but its claims of what's correct and what's not are just a matter of institutional opinion. RAE rules are often refered as "the RAE says..." or "according to the RAE..." when discussing the appropriateness of some usage of the language, not as the truth about how Spanish must be spoken, and many (including me) disagree with many (including this one) of its regulations. In conclusion: the criteria for mentioning ¿...! in this article should be the actual use of this form in the language, not what an obscure regulation says. Without a source that supports the frequent use of ¿...!, that paragraph should be deleted. rbonvall 22:55, 23 March 2007 (UTC)

Anyway, the RAE (this entry, section 3 b.) says that you can use both symbols in the beginning and in the end: ¡¿Pero qué dices, descerebrado?!, never one in one side and another in the other. Thus this paragraph shall be removed. 14:44, 17 April 2007 (UTC)José Manuel.

One sentence?[edit]

In "Usage", second paragraph, "We're going to the beach, ¿would you like to come with us?" is surely not a "good example" because it is actually two sentences anyway. How about, "Although I don't want to, ¿would you like to go to the beach?"? I don't speak Spanish in order to do the translation.

It is "We're going to the beach and, ¿would you come with us?". The second sentence is a good example. Also "¿no?" for saying Aren't you?; Don't you?, no?:

Quieres ir a la playa, ¿no? (You want to go to the beach, ¿don't you?) —Preceding

unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:01, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

I see what you mean; I'll give it a whirl. 03:34, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

Quién vive?[edit]

In "Usage", last paragraph, "Quién vive?" is being translated as "Who's alive?", which is incorrect. "Quién vive?" is a very old (or at least very unused here, as I've never heard it) way of asking "Who's there?". "Who's alive?" would be "Quién está vivo?" -- 07:51, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

I agree. Maybe a different example would make things easier: "Cómo estás?", "Quién es?".-- 01:27, 31 October 2006 (UTC)

"¿Quién vive?" is the Spanish equivalent to "Who goes there?". I edited it accordingly. - Andrés D. 00:10, 25 December 2006 (UTC)

Alternate typography[edit]

I've seen in internet chat the use of the lower-case letter 'i' to substitute for the inverted exclamation mark '¡' - usually, however, by Anglos who are parodying Spanish. (i.e. "iiiiiGOOOOOOOAAAAAAA*cough*AAAALLLLLL!!!!!".) Not sure if this usage exists in real Spanish under situations where the actual inverted marks are difficult to type quickly or not, but I figured it might bear mentioning in the talk page. 06:05, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

I believe that's mostly just a limitation of the English keyboard layout. No '¡' key! Anglos probably believe it's an 'i' anyway.

I don't know. But I think it's not limited in Windows XP and if you have a QWERTY keyboard, you can set you keyboard into an international mode (US-International Keyboard). Here's a link on how to do it> link from Microsoft® Just press the (right) Alt button and at the same time ! or ?
Also the only difference between ¡ and I is that "¡" is extended below the baseline like g, p ,q.

Actually, wouldn't it look like lowercase "j" in fonts (such as some used for newspaper headlines, at least in the past) that didn't put the hook on the bottom? (talk) 16:18, 11 December 2010 (UTC)

Galician language[edit]

Actually, Spanish is not the only language that uses "¡" and "¿" symbols. Galician, which is quite similar to Spanish, but itself a distinct language, uses them also. Other languages spoken within Spain, like Catalan or Basque, do not use them. No clue about Asturian and Aragonese. Maybe a short paragraph about this could be useful?

Article title[edit]

¡Split Article?[edit]

Just a suggestion: I think that there should be two separate articles here, one labeled "¡", and the other labeled "¿". What do you guys think? I won't start a vote or anything serious until i get some other views. -- Kevin (TALK)(MUSIC) 20:47, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

Either seems acceptable to me. —DIV ( 07:50, 30 July 2007 (UTC))

I also thought of the same thing. Like in Spanish signos de exclamación and signos de interrogación. But in English they are less known that it should be all in one page. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:36, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

Current article[edit]

User:Wiikipedian moved this article three times. The current location at Inverted question mark and exclamation point is out of line with the other articles on punctuation in referring to an 'exclamation point' instead of an 'exclamation mark'. Furthermore, it can be misread as "Inverted question mark and exclamation point" = "Inverted question mark" + "exclamation point". The best location would be Inverted exclamation and question marks in Spanish. Of course, Kevin's suggestion would avoid this debate.
User:Wiikipedian's other edits should also be checked.
Amended and moved my previous comment —DIV ( 08:06, 30 July 2007 (UTC))

Inverted mark -> opening mark[edit]

I propose changing the article name from Inverted marks... to Opening marks.... In Spanish it doesn't make sense seeing one mark as the normal one and the other as the inverted one, just as one doesn't refer to [ as a reflected bracket. Besides, the new name would reflect more precisely what the semantics of these marks are; the current title suggests that ¿ could have a meaning on its own, and could by used by itself like when one uses ? in English. rbonvall 23:03, 23 March 2007 (UTC)

I disagree. Even in Spanish, "?" is older than "¿", which was introduced more recently. Thus, "¿" is an inverted form of the older "?". —Lowellian (reply) 01:32, 23 June 2007 (UTC)

What are they called in Spanish? FilipeS (talk) 22:59, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

In spanish they are known as signos de exclamación, (or) signos de interrogación. (Exclamation mark[s], or Question mark[s] ) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:27, 9 March 2008 (UTC)
I'm a native Spanish speaker, and I say literally "opening question mark" and "closing question mark", just like one says in Spanish "opening/closing parenthesis" and "opening/closing quotation mark", but I don't know whether this is the most common usage. rbonvall (talk) 15:48, 5 January 2010 (UTC)
It is so. When I was a child, in school dictations (in Spanish), my teachers said "abrir [signo(s) de interrogación" and "cerrar [signo(s) de] interrogación" ("opening / closing question marks"). About Galician, the last change on normative from ILG-RAG also does not recommend anymore compulsory ¿ and ¡, only in cases of (subjective) ambiguity. About the name, from the perspective of an english-speaker (or reader), who of course he can be from anywhere in the world, I think it'd better to call them like now, "inverted -", since surely they never will use them and for them it is a mere curiosity their functionality in Spanish (I mean, it is not of critical importance to know for a non-Spanish speaker if ¿ opens or closes the question), but of course it is a matter of opinions. (talk) 23:00, 14 December 2010 (UTC)

¿So can we go ahead and change the title to "Opening question and exclamation marks"? (talk) 17:47, 16 October 2011 (UTC)

Split 'History' from 'Usage'[edit]

To me, it looks that the 'Usage' section is too long and contains a bit of history in it. Would somebody please put all the historical references into a 'History' heading above 'Usage'? - Æåm Fætsøn (talk) 11:07, 25 October 2008 (UTC)

Used in Catalan?[edit]

At one time, this article's lead sentence claimed that these marks are used in Catalan. No source was cited, nor was any refutation given when the claim was removed. Nevertheless, the body of the article refers to their use in Catalan today. I think this needs clarification or sourcing, since Catalan is a distinct language, evolved separately, is native in places other than Spain, has its own standards authority, and doesn't in general follow Spanish orthographic conventions. Maybe the claimed usage is local, say in Catalonia? I spent a couple hours trying to research this, but couldn't find any evidence of inverted marks in Catalan at all. --Unconventional (talk) 22:37, 4 November 2008 (UTC)

I too was wondering whether the inverted question and exclamation marks were used in Catalan and other languages of Spain, like Basque, Aragonese, and Galician, not to mention languages used in other Spanish-dominated countries, like Guaraní, Quechua, and Aymara. —Angr 16:15, 24 February 2009 (UTC)
I sometimes see the inverted question marks in Catalan books, for example Si menges una llimona sense fer ganyotes by Sergi Pàmies, Solitud by Víctor Català, and others, but they are not used on all sentences. I didn't understand whether there is some rule in it or the writer just puts them wherever he sees fit. For example, they don't necessarily appear in long or ambiguous sentences, as the article says now.
Citations about this issue from Catalan grammar books or style guides would be most welcome. --Amir E. Aharoni (talk) 21:07, 27 June 2009 (UTC)
I have worked and lived near Girona, did a Catalan language course sponsored by the Generalitat de Catalunya and I was specifically told not to use the "¿" at the beginning of sentences. However, the Ca:Signe d'interrogació article says "... En català, aquest darrer normalment només s'utiliza en frases llargues o amb certa ambigüetat. Seria el cas de
"¿Deu ser perquè, a diferència d'altres màquines més modernes i precises que existeixen avui en dia en el món professional, no té la suficient precisió com per determinar la trajectòria de l'objecte, i per tant, encara no pot saber on caurà exactament, com si fos un aparell dels que ja no es fa servir actualment en aquesta zona?"
o també
"¿Que dius que no et va bé venir i que et quedaràs tota la nit a casa, Enric?"
Però no pas en frases curtes i entenedores com per exemple "Què hi fas aquí?".
Meaning: in long sentences, yes, in short sentences, no. (talk) 10:06, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
I'm native Catalan speaker and I will try to clarify it. As many of you pointed before, the opening interrogation mark (¿) isn't usually used in Catalan: it shouldn't be used for normal questions ("Saps a quina hora comença el partit?", Do you know at what time does the match starts?) although it can be used (optional) in long phrases or ambiguous ones to help the reader. That's the rule, but this may be changing as some of the most recognized Catalan lingüists (as Joan Solà) are for using both, and so you can see some books (specially literature) which use both. That may be easier to read. The Institut d'Estudis Catalans, the recognized Catalan language regulation organ, just says that the traditional use should be keeped.--Ssola (talk) 17:39, 9 May 2010 (UTC)
That's the source. They recommend to use the interrogation and exclamation mark at the end of the sentence. I agree.--Ssola (talk) 17:44, 9 May 2010 (UTC)

Original research?[edit]

The article reads: "[...] in lieu of that, duplicate end-symbols emphasize: Por qué dices eso?? instead of the standard ¿Por qué dices eso? ("Why do you say that?")". Here we have a problem: using the opening question mark is mandatory by Spanish grammatical rules, not an emphaziser. So hardly could a second question mark ("??") correspond to the opening one ("¿"), given that "¿Por qué dices eso?" and "Por qué dices eso?" are identical in meaning and tone, except for that the latter goes against RAE/AALE rules. --Galio (talk) 06:10, 1 March 2009 (UTC)

  • Since this issue appears to be frozen, with no explanation for such a claim, I've removed it. Splibubay (talk) 20:03, 25 November 2011 (UTC)


Sorry but inverted exclamation mark and interrogation mark are not used in written PORTUGUESE. do you know why? Because I'm PORTUGUESE!!!!!

Use of inverted marks[edit]

The article currently states "Although it has now become rare, it is actually correct usage in Spanish to begin a sentence with an opening inverted..'

Two issues here:

1) is it really becoming rare? Where's the evidence? You could say that punctuation per se is becoming rarer on the internet.

2) the use of 'actually'... Why is this convention such a surprise? It sounds like someone sees this convention as something odd (as it's not like that in English, these strange foreigners sort of attitude). As if someone is saying 'How remarkable, do you know, Spanish, ACTUALLY, uses inverted exclamation and question marks at the beginning of phrases....?'

The point of the OP, obviously, was that since no other language that uses the Latin alphabet (or, indeed, any other language at all) uses this awkward device, yet still manages to perfectly convey both interrogation and exclamation/surprise, one may surmise that said device is, if not odd, then positively retarded! (See? A single ending mark works perfectly, even with long sentences.) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:13, 24 September 2011 (UTC)

I propose an edit to make this sentence read: 'It is correct usage in Spanish to begin a sentence with an opening inverted....' (talk) 07:15, 23 December 2009 (UTC)


The Neurda reference (refuses to use inverted marks) needs to be improved. There's a link to a page with a catalog of his complete works; you can buy specific works in PDF format, it seems. The least that should be done is link to the specific work that discusses his problem with punctuation; as it stands now, it's tantamount to referencing some philosophers with a link to the frontpage. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Dnavarro (talkcontribs) 18:52, 18 July 2013 (UTC)

Unicode vs HTML[edit]

The article lists that both HTML and UNICODE support Inverted question and exclamation marks, but HTML uses unicode to offer that support, does this make the listing of HTML redundant? --Hollowpetal (talk) 10:43, 18 October 2013 (UTC)