Bring back the interrobang‽

November 30, 2012 |  by  |  Grammar matters  |  , ,


Some punctuation marks never see the light of day. Say what?!

That, my friends, is an example of when the interrobang could come in handy. When the question mark and exclamation point had a love child, they named him INTERROBANG, although you likely never heard of him in English class.

Truth be told, according to all-knowing Wikipedia, American Martin K. Speckter 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.”

As you know, the interrobang failed to live up to Speckter’s lofty dreams for it, and in today’s digital world, the interrobang doesn’t exist in most fonts.

I say it’s time we bring it back, and I’m not alone. Chief Judge Frank H. Easterbrook used an interrobang in the 2012 Seventh Circuit opinion Robert F. Booth Trust v. Crowley. The State Library of New South Wales includes the interrobang in its logo.

Here are some more interrobang-worthy examples:

He did what‽
Expelled from school, again‽
You’re pregnant‽

Now, tag, it’s your turn. Share some phrases that deserve the long-lost interrobang. (You can copy/paste mine, if you want.)

P.S. Next week I’ll host a contest here unlike any you’ve ever seen, with rad prizes you don’t wanna miss. Standby!


  1. What, not everyone’s using my interrobang these days‽ –Martin K. Speckter

  2. I think I saw this on a few times in the late 1960s.
    Robin: Holy Mackerel Batman, is that the The Penguin‽
    Batman: Look out Robin — tell me that isn’t a giant squid‽
    The Penguin: Not so fast caped crusader — that squid has boxing gloves. Are you ready to be turned into fishfood‽
    Batman: Not the death-squid again‽
    Robin: Holy Toledo Batman, Are we sunk‽
    Announcer: Stay tuned until next week … will Batman and Robin will be turned to Sushi‽ Same Bat-time … same Bat-channel …

  3. You did what‽ For how many jelly beans‽
    Love it, Crystalee. I would definitely use the interrobang. You should start a punctuation revolution!

  4. Bring back the interrobang‽

    If it were to truly be accepted, it can’t just be a mashup of existing marks. 14 years ago I designed a new one.

  5. What‽ No more Twinkies‽

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