11 Little-Known Punctuation Marks We Should Be Using
Why risk boring your friends and social-media followers with a mere period at the end of your texts, posts and emails? Clarify your message with these handy inventions.
Punctuation Marks: Interrobang
While this combination question mark and exclamation point can be effectively replaced by using one of each (“She did what?!”), that somehow lacks the punch of throwing them on top of each other to finish your thought. Besides, who among us doesn’t want to say “interrobang” more often‽
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Punctuation Marks: Irony Mark
The irony mark, first printed in the mid-1800s, precedes a sentence to indicate its tone before it is read (much like some Spanish punctuation). The intent: beware of crafty double meanings and arched eyebrows to follow. While this backward question mark is relatively young, writers have been proposing irony symbols since the 1600s.
Punctuation Marks: Acclamation Point
The French author who proposed this punctuation mark in 1966 described it as “the stylized representation of the two small flags that fly at the top of the bus when a head of state visits.” Acclamation is “a demonstration of goodwill or welcome,” so you could use it to say “I’m glad you could make it” or “We stand on guard for theePhoto: Tatiana Ayazo”
Punctuation Marks: Snark Mark
Need to indicate that you’re being a petty jerk? Add a snark mark to your correspondence by typing a period followed by a tilde. Example: “Nice shoes. I bet you got a deal on them.~”
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Punctuation Marks: Certitude Point
A favourite of parents, the certitude point conveys total conviction, as in, “We are not going to the zoo and that’s finalPhoto: Tatiana Ayazo”
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Punctuation Marks: Doubt Point
The opposite of the certitude point, this zigzag adds skepticism: “You think you’re going to the zooPhoto: Tatiana Ayazo”
Punctuation Marks: Love Point
The equivalent of punctuating your prose with an emoji heart, the love point is two canoodling question marks sharing a period. Try it after sentences such as “Happy anniversaryPhoto: Tatiana Ayazo” and “I love my catPhoto: Tatiana Ayazo” (Only a cynic would note the subtext of using question marks to express ardour.)
Punctuation Marks: Asterism
This triangular pile of asterisks has been used to divide subchapters in books and to indicate minor breaks in long text. Sadly, most books just use three stars in a row for breaks within chapters (***), or simply skip an extra line.
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Punctuation Marks: SarcMark
The SarcMark (short for “sarcasm mark”) is actually the trademarked creation of a man named Douglas Sak, who markets it as “the official, easy-to-use punctuation mark to emphasize a sarcastic phrase, sentence or message.” Yeah, the world needs more ways to be sarcastic.
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Punctuation Marks: Exclamation Comma & Question Comma
Want to show delight or confusion without ending your sentence? Slip in one of these! Once patented, like the Sarc-Mark, these comma cousins have been free for everyone to use since 1995.