The Interrobang

Erik Deckers, Writing for
4-minute read
Episode #487

The Interrobang Versus Emoji

What's really insulting to interrobang fans is how readily people have adopted emoji, the small cartoony images on your smartphone used to represent emotions in people's otherwise gibberish texts.

They're cutesy little graphics of smiley faces, frowny faces, and every variation of human emotion. Whatever happened to the good old days of typing a semi-colon, a dash, and a right parenthesis for a winky face? Or a colon, dash, and capital D to show laughter?

I know emoji are the natural evolution of the text-based emoticons, but I was more than a little surprised (equal sign, number 8, dash, lowercase o) that they caught on so quickly.

Meanwhile, the interrobang is hidden away in our computers and needs a hunting party and three bloodhounds just to track it down.

While I certainly have mellowed out over the years, and no longer rant over the egregious "I seen" or a misused apostrophe (seriously, people don't use an apostrophe in DVDs!), I can only shake my head at adults who punctuate text messages with cartoon kitty-cats.

Three Cheers for the Interrobang

The interrobang has a proud, if obscure, 52-year tradition. It signaled an important new change in how we communicate with each other, while emoji make writers everywhere die a little inside.

I want to use this opportunity to re-introduce the interrobang as an important punctuation mark, used for the truly important questions of our day.

Like, seriously, you guys, who ate my Cap'n Crunch‽

(A version of this article originally appeared as a newspaper humor column in April 2014.)

This article was written by Erik Deckers. You can find his professional work as a content marketer here and his humor writing over here. You can find his author pages here on Barnes & Noble or here on Amazon.com.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.


About the Author

Erik Deckers, Writing for Grammar Girl

You May Also Like...

The Quick and Dirty Tips Privacy Notice has been updated to explain how we use cookies, which you accept by continuing to use this website. To exercise your choices about cookies, please see Cookies and Online Tracking.