Our son William hates studying English in school. He hates reading and books. But he has a brilliant mind and an equally impressive vocabulary (don’t ask me how — he doesn’t read anything).

So my surprise was magnified a hundredfold last week when he came home and said “Hey Mom, do you know what the coolest punctuation mark is?” And then he introduced me to the awesomeness that is the Interrobang.

Interrobang 1

From Wikipedia:

The interrobang, also known as the interabang,[1] /ɪnˈtɛrɵbæŋ/, ‽ (often represented by ?! or !?), is a nonstandard punctuation mark used in various written languages and intended to combine the functions of the question mark (also called the “interrogative point”)[2] and the exclamation mark or exclamation point (known in printers’ and programmers’ jargon as the “bang”).[3] The glyph is a superimposition of these two marks. The word itself is an example of a portmanteau that incorporates an onomatopoeia.

I know what onomatopoeia is — anyone who took junior high English has learned about words that are named like the actual sound they make (like bang, slam, gurgle, and I would suggest barf works as well) — but what’s a portmanteau?

Apparently, it’s a linguistic blend of words, like smog or turducken. Cool.

Examples of acceptable uses for the Interrobang:


You ate the last taco‽

Donald Trump is running for President‽

Apparently, you can use a combination of keystrokes to get one:

Interrobang 3

My response to that:

It doesn’t work on a Mac‽

2 thoughts on “Interrobang

    1. It’s such a fun-sounding word, and is applicable for so many things teenagers say, like: Really Mom‽ You want me to eat that‽ You want me to wear what‽ What do you mean I have to go to bed now‽

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