Friday, February 11, 2011

Can You Teach an Old Author New Tricks?

<----Have you seen this kind of punctuation in books?

Oh, wait. Maybe I should have exclaimed the question.

*take two*

Have you seen this kind of punctuation used in books?!


Oh. Well, I haven't. Sorry. But apparently they're real and they're spectacular. LOL


How did I just find this out? Well, we were having a discussion about this at my critique group the other day because one of my friends saw a sentence like that in a book. Well, we all agreed it looked totally wrong and unprofessional, and how could a publisher publish something like that, etc... And then we later found out it was totally right and perfectly professional.


Ooops. Our bad. You learn something new every day. :)


Ending a sentence with a combination of a question mark and an exclamation mark is actually called an Interrobang.

You use an interrobang to end a sentence that asks a question with excitement or disbelief.

As in...

Can you believe I just discovered this now?!

or

Wow, how could I have been so stupid?!

I guess that goes to show you, you can teach an old author (not that I'm old!) new tricks.

Did you know what an interrobang was? Have you used them in your own writing?

33 comments:

Linda O'Connell said...

I didn't know that word, but I recognize the punctuation. Glad I found your blog. Please check out mine.
http://lindaoconnell.blogspot.com/

Charlie said...

Actually, I have seen and used them, but I didn't know the proper term. Thanks.
I wonder why the ? is always before the !

I suppose emoticons will be acceptable and proper soon. :Þ Spellchecker hasn't caught up yet. :)

Misha said...

*cough cough laugh* I read it. I used it. I didn't know the line.

I only use it for very rough drafts, as I prefer to have my words doing the talking instead of the punctuation.

:-)

Laura Pauling said...

Back when I was learning grammar, for real, I did see this mark but I didn't know what it was called. Even if it is real, I don't think I'll use it. Will you all start using it now? :) That is the questions.

Jennifer Shirk said...

Ha! Laura: I guess we'll see. Only if absolutely necessary. :)

David Bridger said...

Thank you! I've seen it used but never knew it was legit and even has a name.

House style will come into this though, won't it? I can't imagine an interrobang getting past any of my editors. :)

Maria Zannini said...

LOL! I've used it in personal emails (to show my exuberance) but never in a draft, thinking it was incorrect.

That makes me correct by accident.

Thanks for sharing this!

Diane Craver said...

Interesting - didn't know it was correct and glad I learned it's legit and the term for it.

Have an awesome weekend!

TheBookGirl said...

I have seen it used, and like you, thought it was incorrect :)
Never heard the expression before..

Wendy Paine Miller said...

Sounds like what I do when I walk around my house sleepy.

Enter rooms & bang.

Thanks for teaching me something new today.
~ Wendy

Debora Dennis said...

Still looks wrong to me. Maybe it's just because I haven't come across them that much.

I laughed when I saw this on your blog today - you old dog you! :)

Jules said...

Whew, I thought you were going to tell me I broke the law and the literary police had me on a wanted list :)
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Terri Tiffany said...

I like it's name but no, never saw it before! I guess the rules constantly change don't they?!

(did I do it right?)

Linda Kage said...

Wow, I use it all the time...but I had no idea it actually had a name and was perfectly okay to use. Darn, I thought I was being a rebel!

Justine Dell said...

OMG! I totally used to do this! Then the beta verbally smacked me for over puntucation. Now I can do it again. YAY!!!!

~JD

Rula Sinara said...

Interrobang?! Love that it actually has a name! I've used it in casual writing, but I didn't know it was allowed in published material. Good to know! Of course, since it includes an ! I'm assuming it still falls under the 'use rarely' rule, LOL. Could be distracting :). What?! Distracting?! Seriously?! LOL

Jennifer Shirk said...

LOL, Rula!! Yes, it shouldn't be used liberally. It IS distracting!

Cindy R. Wilson said...

Yes, I've heard that term before (don't know why) but wasn't sure exactly what it was. I don't know if I've ever seen one used in a book I've read and definitely not one I've written. Interesting.

Karen Akins said...

I've heard of an interrobang, but honestly, I find them distracting. The only sentence I can think of that warrants one is "Is that atomic bomb really set to go off in 15 seconds?!"

:)

PatriciaW said...

I never knew what it was called, but I've used it forever. Sparingly.

Cheryl Klarich said...

I LOVE it!!!

Ann Best said...

How very interesting. I didn't know this, so I learned something new and useful today. Thanks!!! And have a great weekend.
Ann Best, Author

Liza said...

This is news to me . . . and I like it!

Susanne Drazic said...

Actually I didn't know that it was considered real puctuation or that it had a name. I do use it when I write letters, but thought it was just me. Talk about learning something new today!

Nancy said...

I don't think I've seen that before. I love to learn new things, especially about punctuation. Thanks for the funny and informative post.

Dawn said...

See, I had no idea it was legit either. You learn something new every day, I suppose.

Linda G. said...

Are you serious?! Get outta town.

Nope, I've never seen it in a book. Can't see myself using it in one of mine, either.

Susan Fields said...

I have heard of an interrobang before, and I believe I've seen them used. But I would be hesitant to use one if my own writing since they do seem a bit overdone. Maybe when I'm as famous as J.K. Rowling I'll be able to get away with it. :)

Nick Thomas said...

The interrobang came just before the Big Bang... or was it just after?!

Tana Adams said...

You think the I-bang would go over well in woman's fiction?! I'm thinking not, but since I'm more of a rebel I say let them commence. :)

Dawn Simon said...

I didn't know what the word meant, but I knew what the "?!" meant. It wasn't stupid of you, silly. We can't know everything.

I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend, Jennifer!

Susan R. Mills said...

I've seen them, but never used one. I will if I feel the need, but so far, I haven't.

Ann Best said...

This is another comment after reading your comment on my post about my not liking Twitter.

Tweetdeck. How interesting. I'll see what it is, though my editor says I really don't need to worry about Twitter. Blogging works great for me, and I love making friends, such as you, this way!!