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An interrobang‽ What the what‽

The Answer

An interrobang is a punctuation mark combining ! and ? to use at the end of an exclamatory rhetorical question.

Sometimes you want to express a question in writing that is as much an explanation as it is a question.

WTF, when written out, is a good example. “What the fork?” sounds like you just want to know. Using an exclamation then – “What the fork!”. No, that doesn’t work either. But “What the fork!?” is perfect, right? How about…

What the fork‽

I like that better, and I have the interrobang to thank for that.

interrobang \ in-ˈter-ə-ˌbaŋ \

: a punctuation mark ‽ designed for use especially at the end of an exclamatory rhetorical question

Interrobang | Definition of Interrobang by Merriam-Webster

The interrobang was created in 1962 by an Ad Executive by the name of Martin Speckter. At the time he gave an example of some advertising copy that would be improved by the interrobang – “What‽ A Refrigerator That Makes Its Own Ice Cubes‽” The same line with using only question marks lacks the sense of incredulity.

Interrobang is a portmanteau of the words interrogative and bang. Interrogative point is another name for the question mark. Bang is used by printers and programmers to describe an exclamation point.

What‽ I can use it too‽

If you want to incorporate the interrobang in your writing, you can bookmark the following link – Interrobang‽ | Copy, paste, and learn about ‽ – to copy the character. If you scroll down that page, you’ll also see instructions on how to type the character on a Mac and in iOS. Wikipedia also has some useful tips on how to use it on other platforms.

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