Glyph du Jour: Interrobang

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A combination of question mark and exclamation point described in the Wikipedia as "rarely used, nonstandard English-language punctuation mark" (21 Mar 2007).

Here is a sample of it in different fonts
Interrobang.png

So what's doing in the Unicode specification? Here are some likely reasons:

  1. There may be historical documents using it - This was invented by Martin K. Speckter in 1962 to make advertisments using "?!" look "cleaner" (compare WTH?I with WTH‽). Ads from that era may include the "interrobang"
    Note: Historic usage is also why Unicode includes provisions for Tolkein scripts.
  2. Because it's there - The interrobang may arise again some day if fonts include it

Interrobang Now

A few fonts designed for Unicode include the Interrobang character. The interrobang is also in the new Microsoft Clear Type fonts, but it not widespread. On the other hand, most graphic designers could probably use super compressed character spacing to create one on the fly if it's really needed.

But...if you really want one on your Web site, just use code ‽ and it should appear on most modern browsers. In other documents, you can use the Windows Character Map or the Mac Character Palette.

You never know when you might say "Unicode has a separate interrobang character‽"

Additional Reading

About The Blog

I am a Penn State technology specialist with a degree in linguistics and have maintained the Penn State Computing with Accents page since 2000.

See Elizabeth Pyatt's Homepage (ejp10@psu.edu) for a profile.

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