Writing for Business

Sep 24 2012   6:48PM GMT

It’s Punctuation Day. Here — have some more!

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

Did you know that September 24th, 2012 is Punctuation Day‽  It’s also Bluebird of Happiness Day, which surely cannot be a coincidence. I love punctuation!

The National Punctuation Day website provides standard punctuation and information about each item.

Wikipedia has an interesting entry on punctuation and some related entries about non-standard punctuation. Maybe teacher never told you, but there are punctuation marks that haven’t gone mainstream, although maybe they should. See that exclamation point/question mark image to the left (and also after the first sentence)? It’s the interrobang, a single character that indicates that the question is asked in an excited manner. So much more elegant than separate punctuation, especially if multiples are used.

Martin K. Speckter invented the interrobang in 1962. Speckter, who was the head of an ad agency, thought that ads would look a lot better with a single character to display both enthusiasm and inquisitiveness. He was right! Although the interrobang has never become standard-issue punctuation, it’s there for you to use, in the Wingdings font.

And then there’s the irony mark. Alcanter de Brahm, a French poet, promoted this backwards question mark  in the 19th century and various proponents have campaigned for it since. It’s never caught on though, and that has led to a great deal of ambiguity.

Surely the world would be a better place if we signaled our ironic statements clearly ؟

Go ahead — celebrate National Punctuation Day with some new punctuation. Enjoy it responsibly!

See more punctuation-related posts here.

Follow me on Twitter @tao_of_grammar.

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