What Grammar Girl Taught Me Today or, How I Learned to Stop Furrowing and Love the Exclamation Bomb

Grammar Girl is a great resource for anyone who wants to improve their writing. She deftly answers pressing punctuation, grammar, and usage questions after doing plenty of supporting research. No persnickety pedant, she keeps her advice “quick and dirty,” giving her audience the tools they need to improve their writing.

One of my pet peeves when it comes to writing is the excessive use of exclamation marks — the exclamation bomb, if you will. If I  see another offensive sign imploring me to stay on the trail (Keep off the grass!!!) or forbidding me from consuming (No eating or drinking!!!), I’m going to remain on the local police blotter indefinitely.  But the use of numerous exclamation and question marks together to show enthusiasm (Don’t you just love fresh strawberries!!!!?!!!?)? Even more grating.

Today, Grammar Girl introduced me to something that could make this kind of writing bearable and, more importantly, save my nerves: the interrobang.

The interrobang is a new (well, new to me) punctuation mark (that brings the count to 15, in case you’re wondering) that is made from superimposing an exclamation mark on a question mark :

Now, as the name implies and as Grammar Girl suggests, the interrobang is used for asking questions in a surprised manner, but I’m willing to extend its use to one and all for the gush. I love the interrobang for the simple fact that it kills two birds with one stone, thus saving space, appearing gracious, and amusing readers all at the same time.

Now if I inadvertently stumble upon a tweet asking “Did she really wear that‽” I can deal. (I know, I know: the offending writer will probably be more likely to type “Did she really wear that‽” but hope springs eternal.

Thanks, Grammar Girl.

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