Writing Tips: Unusual Punctuation Marks – Journal


Artwork by Ziauddin

We all know how important punctuation marks are in our scripts because punctuation fills our writing with expression. We pause, stop, underline, or question using a comma, period, exclamation point, or question mark.

Correct punctuation adds clarity and precision to writing. Without a doubt, it has the power to make sense and has the power to take away anything that made sense.

I’m sure by now most of you know the basics. However, there are times when we want to express more than the commonly used dot, comma, question mark, or exclamation mark, and then we take the help of the built-in symbols on our computers and cell phones.

But did you know that there are some punctuation marks that we don’t use, but with their particular shape, they have their own meaning and usage. So, let’s find out what it is. Plus, why not use something unique and impress your friends and teachers with your writing skills?

interrobang

This punctuation mark combines a question mark? and an exclamation point! – i.e. This is used to express excitement and disbelief at the same time, for example:

“You don’t read Young World” or “He did what”

The interrobang was invented by advertising executive Martin Speckter in 1962. According to him, the interrobang can be used when a writer wishes to convey amazement and doubt. The name is derived from the Latin word interrogatio, which means “to ask”, and bang – how printers refer to the exclamation point.

Percontation mark or rhetorical question mark

The inverted question mark was proposed by printer Henry Denham in the 16th century to end a rhetorical question. It is used at the end of a question that does not require an answer; however, the rhetorical question mark died out in the 17th century.

Example: So clever! Who knew or who cares

mark of irony

The irony mark was used as early as the 1600s. But it was first printed in the mid-1800s. The irony mark was placed before a sentence to indicate its tone before it was read. Many authors are associated with the use of this punctuation mark, such as the British philosopher John Wilkins; Brahm’s Alcanter, who introduced his own mark of irony, and in 1966 French author Hervé Bazin came up with the widely known mark of irony. It looks a bit like an exclamation mark with a lowercase U in the middle.

certainty or point of conviction

This mark is another invention of Harve Bazin. It’s a crossed out exclamation point. The idea behind the symbol was to use it when you’re sure about something, but not excited enough to use an exclamation mark instead. I guess this brand is every mom’s favorite because it expresses total conviction.

As Phil Jamieson (musician) writes in a blog, “This punctuation would be better used instead of writing in capital letters.”

Example: “We are not going to the cinema and it is final”.

point of love

Composed of two mirrored question marks that form a heart and share a dot at the bottom. This mark was also introduced by Bazin, the mark was used at the end of an affectionate statement.

Example: “Happy Birthday” or

“I love my puppies”

cheer point

Another Harve Bazin invention, a cheer sign was intended to be used to express goodwill or welcome.

Example: “I’m so glad to see you”, or “Long live Pakistan”.

no doubt

This is yet another Bazin creation. It is interesting that he covered many crucial situations where we need to clarify our texts for readers. The point of doubt is the opposite of the point of certainty, it looks like a cross between the letter Z and a question mark. The mark is used to end a sentence with a note of skepticism.

For example: “You think you are going to the cinema.

Brand Sarc

Sarc is short for sarcasm, the mark is a swirl with a dot in the middle. It was invented by a Michigan father-son team named Paul and Doug Sak. They launched it in 2010.

Although this sparked a flurry of mainstream media publicity, they trademarked their symbol and charged for digital fonts allowing editors to include it in their materials. None of this was cheap; consequently, they faced a gradual decline in popularity and usage.

Example: “Ha ha ha, that’s funny” or “Good luck with that”.

snark mark

Created by typographer Choz Cunningham in 2007. It’s just a dot followed by a tilde, and is used to indicate that a sentence needs to be understood beyond the literal meaning.

For example, if you are on a long-awaited beach vacation and a hurricane is looming, everyone is urged to stay safe until the hurricane is gone. We can say,

“Amazing time! I’m glad we came here”

Exclamation point and question mark

So if you ever want to show joy and confusion without finishing your sentence, use one of the marks above.

According to the Huffington Post, Leonard Storch, Ernst van Haagen and Sigmund Silber created both the exclamation point and the question mark – an exclamation point with a comma for a low period and a question mark with a comma for a period, respectively – in 1992. The trademark patent (which expired in 1995) reads as follows:

“By using two new punctuation marks, the interrogative comma and the exclamation comma… curiosity and exclamation can be expressed in a written sentence structure, so that thoughts can be more easily and clearly conveyed to readers. The new punctuation marks are for use in a sentence written between words like a comma, but with more sentiment or curiosity. Plus, the new punctuation fits pretty neatly into the scheme of things, simply filling a void, with little to no explanation needed.

Example: “This python is really big and scary () but don’t worry, it won’t eat you.”

“Do you think I need it (comma question”

Asterism

This triangular stack of asterisks has been used to divide subchapters in books and to indicate minor breaks in long text; it was used well into the 1850s. However, most books these days only use three stars in a row for chapter breaks (***) or simply skip an extra line.

Posted in Dawn, Young World, September 24, 2022

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