30 September 2010

Birth of twins

I saw this the other day on the oatmeal blog - ‽ - an "interrobang" or a "quesclamation mark", which I think are both stupid names for a symbol of limited utility. Let me introduce two symbols that are much more useful - "!?" and "?!" 

The first symbol illustrates the true meaning of the preceeding sentence, and the second one spins the meaning These are best illustrated through example - "What the hell are you doing?"

"!?" - Let's say you see a friend beating up a seal, you would use What the hell are you doing!? Of course this is not a legitimate question, thus "!" is first. The "?" highlights the incredulosity*/stupidity of the activity. "!?" is much more limited in use than "?!" as you will see.

Some examples:
How can you eat so much!?
How can you sit at that computer so long!?
Why haven't I seen a post all month!? (could go either way)

"?!" - Let's say a friend has not picked up a phone call for a long time. What the hell (have you) been doing?! Legitimate question, "!" added for emphasis. In fact, you can add "!" to the end of any question for emphasis.

Some examples:
What should we do for lunch today?! (more excited)
How did you do that?! (more curious)
Who is following me?! (more worried)

The "quesclamation mark" bs is quaint and of limited utility. I like mine better.

*: Not a real word. 

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