The interrobang (//), also known as the interabang (‽) (often represented by ?!, !?, ?!? or !?!), is an unconventional punctuation mark used in various written languages and intended to combine the functions of the question mark, or interrogative point; and the exclamation mark, or exclamation point, known in the jargon of printers and programmers as a "bang". The glyph is a superimposition of these two marks. The interrobang was first proposed in 1962 by Martin K. Speckter.
- You call that a hat‽
- You're dying‽
- What are those‽
Writers using informal language may use several alternating question marks and exclamation marks for even more emphasis; however, this is regarded as poor style in formal writing.
Historically, writers have used multiple punctuation marks to end a sentence expressing surprise and question.
What the...?! Neves, Called Dead in Fall, Denies It— headline from San Francisco Examiner, May 9, 1936
American Martin K. Speckter (1915 – February 14, 1988) conceptualized the interrobang in 1962. As the head of an advertising agency, Speckter believed that advertisements would look better if copywriters conveyed surprised rhetorical questions using a single mark. He proposed the concept of a single punctuation mark in an article in the magazine TYPEtalks. Speckter solicited possible names for the new character from readers. Contenders included exclamaquest, QuizDing, rhet, and exclarotive, but he settled on interrobang. He chose the name to reference the punctuation marks that inspired it: interrogatio is Latin for "rhetorical question" or "cross-examination"; bang is printers' slang for the exclamation mark. Graphic treatments for the new mark were also submitted in response to the article.
In 1965, Richard Isbell created the Americana typeface for American Type Founders and included the interrobang as one of the characters. In 1968, an interrobang key was available on some Remington typewriters. In the 1970s, replacement interrobang keycaps and typefaces were available for some Smith-Corona typewriters. The interrobang was in vogue for much of the 1960s; the word interrobang appeared in some dictionaries, and the mark was used in magazine and newspaper articles.
Most fonts do not include the interrobang, but it has not disappeared: Lucida Grande, the default font for many UI elements of legacy versions of Apple's OS X operating system, includes the interrobang, and Microsoft provides several versions of the interrobang in the Wingdings 2 character set (on the right bracket and tilde keys on US keyboard layouts), included with Microsoft Office. It was accepted into Unicode and is included in several fonts, including Lucida Sans Unicode, Arial Unicode MS, and Calibri, the default font in the Office 2007, 2010, and 2013 suites.
A reverse and upside down interrobang (combining ¿ and ¡, Unicode character: ⸘), suitable for starting phrases in Spanish, Galician and Asturian, which use inverted question and exclamation marks, is called an "inverted interrobang" or a gnaborretni (interrobang spelled backwards), but the latter is rarely used. In current practice, interrobang-like emphatic ambiguity in Hispanic languages is usually achieved by including both sets of punctuation marks one inside the other (¿¡De verdad!? or ¡¿De verdad?! [Really!?]). Older usage, still official but not widespread, recommended mixing the punctuation marks: ¡Verdad? or ¿Verdad!
Entering and display
Few modern typefaces or fonts include a glyph for the interrobang character. The standard interrobang is at Unicode code point U+203D ‽ INTERROBANG. The inverted interrobang is at Unicode code point U+2E18 ⸘ INVERTED INTERROBANG. Single-character versions of the double-glyph versions are also available at code points U+2048 ⁈ QUESTION EXCLAMATION MARK and U+2049 ⁉ EXCLAMATION QUESTION MARK.
On Mac OS X, it is found on the Character Palette, obtained by pressing the key combination Ctrl+⌘ Cmd+Space.
The interrobang can be inserted in HTML with
The interrobang can be displayed in LaTeX by using the package textcomp and the command
\textinterrobang. The inverted interrobang is the command
Examples of use
The State Library of New South Wales, in Australia, uses an interrobang as its logo, as does the educational publishing company Pearson, which intend it to convey "the excitement and fun of learning".
Australian Federal Court Justice Michael Wigney used an interrobang in the first paragraph of his 2018 judgment in Faruqi v Latham  FCA 1328 (defamation proceedings between former Federal Opposition Leader, Mark Latham, and political campaigner and writer, Osman Faruqi).
In popular culture
- "Interrobang". Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
- "interabang". The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (5th ed.). November 1, 2011. Archived from the original on November 14, 2012. Retrieved June 14, 2012.
- Mandeville, Henry (1851). A Course of Reading for Common Schools and the Lower Classes of Academies. Retrieved November 22, 2013.
- Gleckler, Arthur. "The Jargon File". Archived from the original on April 26, 2012. Retrieved December 7, 2011.
- "Martin K. Speckter, 73, Creator of Interrobang". The New York Times. February 16, 1988.
- "Interrobang (Punctuation)". ThoughtCo.
- Punctuation Archived April 2, 2015, at the Wayback Machine. Chicago Style Q&A. Chicago Manual of Style Online. (15th ed.) Accessed August 28, 2007.
- "Martin K. Speckter, 73, Creator of Interrobang". New York Times. February 16, 1988. Archived from the original on March 20, 2016.
- Spekter, Martin K. (March–April 1962). "Making a New Point, or, How About That …". TYPEtalks.
- Garfield, Simon (2010). Just My Type: A Book About Fonts. London: Profile. p. 269. ISBN 978-1-84668-301-5.
- Burton, Gideon O. "interrogatio". Silva Rhetoricae: The Forest of Rhetoric. Brigham Young University. Archived from the original on November 19, 2005. Retrieved August 28, 2007.
- Haley, Allan (June 2001). "The Interrobang Is Back". fonthaus.com. Archived from the original on May 7, 2008. Retrieved December 3, 2010.
- Houston, Keith (2013). Shady Characters: The Secret Life of Punctuation, Symbols, & Other Typographical Marks. New York: W. W. Norton. p. 29.
- Smith-Corona flyer illustrating the Changeable Type system with an exclamation mark / interrobang unit Archived March 26, 2009, at the Wayback Machine Accessed March 7, 2009.
- The Interrobang: A Twentieth Century Punctuation Mark. Archived October 13, 2004, at the Wayback Machine Accessed August 28, 2007.
- "Unicode Code Charts, General Punctuation, 2000–206F" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on August 4, 2011. Retrieved March 3, 2011.
- MSDN fontblog Archived March 7, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. Accessed August 28, 2007.
- "Unicode Code Charts, Supplemental Punctuation, 2E00–2E7F" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on August 12, 2011. Retrieved March 3, 2011.
- RAE's Diccionario Panhispánico de Dudas (in Spanish)
- de Buen, Jorge (2008). Manual de diseño editorial (3rd ed.). Gijón: Trea. ISBN 978-84-9704-378-6.[page needed]
- Everson, Michael. Proposal to add INVERTED INTERROBANG to the UCS Archived May 24, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, April 1, 2005
- "Library Executive". sl.nsw.gov.au. State Library of New South Wales. July 30, 2015. Archived from the original on February 1, 2016. Retrieved July 13, 2017.
- "Pearson Brand Guidelines: Logo" (PDF). Pearson.com. 2016. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 12, 2016. Retrieved July 13, 2017.
- Roman Mars (July 10, 2018). "Interrobang". 99% Invisible (Podcast). Radiotopia. Archived from the original on July 30, 2018. Retrieved July 29, 2018.
- Easterbrook, Frank H (June 13, 2012). "Robert F. Booth Trust v. Crowley" (PDF). p. 8. Archived (PDF) from the original on July 18, 2018. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
We don't get it. In order to avoid a risk of antitrust litigation, the company should be put through the litigation wringer (this suit) with certainty‽ How can replacing a 1% or even a 20% chance of a bad thing with a 100% chance of the same bad thing make investors better off?
- "Faruqi v Latham  FCA 1328". www.judgments.fedcourt.gov.au.
- "IMDB entry for Interrabang movie". www.imdb.com. IMDB. Archived from the original on February 11, 2017. Retrieved June 7, 2018.
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