6 Weird Punctuation Marks to Flex on English Fans With

(Last Updated On: November 7, 2021)

You’ve probably heard of the interrobang before, without really knowing exactly what it means. You just know it looks like this: ‽. What if we told you that there were more weird punctuation marks others have tried to pitch floating around? They didn’t really catch on for the most part, but they sure are fun to look at. So here are some weird punctuation marks you can use to flex on your one friend. 

1. The Interrobang

We’re going to start with the interrobang because it’s the one you probably thought of when we first brought up “weird punctuation.” The interrobang cropped up in the 1960s, and it was originally intended to be used for the purpose of advertising. Specifically, the interrobang is meant to show the exclamation of rhetorical questions. The “interro” part is derived from Latin for both rhetorical questions and interrogations, while the “bang” part was printer slang for exclamation points. 

So yeah the interrobang is literally a combination of both the question and exclamation marks in both name and use. 

2. The Caret

If you write papers or have papers edited frequently, you might be familiar with the caret. It’s a little “^” that indicates something should go in between two words. Normally you see this when handwritten marks are being made into things for proofreading, especially since editing things digitally gives you the power of “suggesting mode.” 

3. The Rhetorical Question Mark

In 1580 a guy named Henry Denham came up with the idea of the rhetorical question mark–which is literally a backwards question mark (⸮). It’s meant to tell you if a question is rhetorical, so readers don’t have to deal with the burden of figuring out the author’s intent. 

4. The Snark Mark

The snark mark is added to the end of a sentence, and in basic typefont is supposed to look like this: “.~” Like the rhetorical question mark, the snark mark is good for lifting the burden from the reader in parsing out the writer’s intent. Which would be exceptionally useful for those who are learning English as a second language.

If you use Reddit you either love or hate the little “/s” tag people put on things to make the same point.  

5. The Friendly Period 

It’s a shallow little “U” underneath a period in a sentence. The purpose is exactly what it says on the tin; it’s for making sure people understand you’re trying to be friendly. 

6. The Question and Exclamation Commas

Like the interrobang, the question and exclamation commas are hybrids of the question mark and comma (also the exclamation mark and comma). These marks literally look like the normal “!” or “?” except instead of a dot at the bottom it’s a comma. A patent for both these marks was filed in Europe with the intention of the marks being used exactly as they sound. They’re meant to be used when you’d use a comma after a question mark or exclamation point.

Turns out normal question marks and exclamation points can be used in the same way.

See if you can name all sorts of other symbols here.

About the Author:

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Kyler is a content writer at Sporcle living in Seattle, and is currently studying at the University of Washington School of Law. He's been writing for Sporcle since 2019; sometimes the blog is an excellent platform to answer random personal questions he has about the world. Most of his free time is spent drinking black coffee like water.