One of my favorite classes in college was Typography, where we spent endless hours manually measuring the leading and x-height specs of printed type. E-card, anyone? No, I don’t mean an email birthday card. I mean the transparent ruler for type nerds that physically measures type point size, paragraph leading, and line weight of any printed item. I was in heaven. I still have my yellowed, brittle plastic E-card in my desk, just to occasionally bring it out and show young upstarts how legit I am.
I was surprised to learn recently that I apparently don’t know everything. In the early ’60s, there was a valiant attempt to introduce a newly invented character into mainstream typesetting and I had never heard about it.
I present: The Interrobang
This character combines the exclamation point and questions mark into one convenient package. No more having to type out multiple characters to convey your questioning surprise.
!?!?!? could just be one symbol: ‽
Alas, even though this new character made onto the keyboard of Remington typewriters, and has its own Unicode, it did not persist into modern typesetting.
Listen/read all about it here:
In honor of National Punctuation Day earlier this week, I propose we revive the interrobang. Who’s with me‽
Here are some additional little-known punctuation marks to use in everyday texting: