Thursday, November 25, 2010

Interesting Facts: #17


The above punctuation mark is called an interrobang and sometimes a quesclamation mark.

The function of the mark is to ask a question and at the same time express surprise or indicate that the question is rhetorical, such as “You paid how much?!” It was invented in 1962 by American advertising honcho Martin Speckter to convey rhetorical questions in advertising material. He called it an interrobang in that interrogatio is Latin for a rhetorical question and bang is printer’s slang for an exclamation mark

“So what?” and “Big deal” I hear you mutter. You may think that this is the only time that you may see it but as of 2009, the State Library of NSW has adopted it as its logo, the idea according to the persons responsible being that it simultaneously asks a question (?) and provides the answer (!). That seems a bit of a stretch of the meaning of the mark but there you have it…

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