‽ ⸘

The interrobang (/ɪnˈtɛrəbæŋ/),[1] also known as the interabang[2] (often represented by any of the following: ?!, !?, ?!?,?!!, !?? or !?!), is an unconventional punctuation mark intended to combine the functions of the question mark (also known as the interrogative point)[3] and the exclamation mark (also known in the jargon of printers and programmers as a "bang"). The glyph is a ligature of these two marks[4] and was first proposed in 1962 by Martin K. Speckter.[5]


A sentence ending with an interrobang asks a question in an excited manner, expresses excitement, disbelief or confusion in the form of a question, or asks a rhetorical question.[6]

For example:

Writers using informal language may use several alternating question marks and exclamation marks for even more emphasis; however, this is regarded as poor style in formal writing.[7]


An interrobang in the Palatino Linotype font

Historically, writers have used multiple consecutive punctuation marks to end a sentence expressing both surprise and question.

What the...?! Neves, Called Dead in Fall, Denies It

— headline from San Francisco Examiner, May 9, 1936


American Martin K. Speckter (June 14, 1915 – February 14, 1988)[8] conceptualized the interrobang in 1962. As the head of an advertising agency, Speckter believed that advertisements would look better if copywriters conveyed surprised rhetorical questions using a single mark. He proposed the concept of a single punctuation mark in an article in the magazine TYPEtalks.[9] Speckter solicited possible names for the new character from readers. Contenders included exclamaquest, and exclarotive, but he settled on interrobang. He chose the name to reference the punctuation marks that inspired it: interrogatio is Latin for "rhetorical question" or "cross-examination";[10] bang is printers' slang for the exclamation mark. Graphic treatments for the new mark were also submitted in response to the article.[11]

Early interest

In 1965, Richard Isbell created the Americana typeface for American Type Founders and included the interrobang as one of the characters.[12] In 1968, an interrobang key was available on some Remington typewriters. In the 1970s, replacement interrobang keycaps and typefaces were available for some Smith-Corona typewriters.[13] The interrobang was in vogue for much of the 1960s; the word interrobang appeared in some dictionaries, and the mark was used in magazine and newspaper articles.[11]

Continued support

Most fonts do not include the interrobang, but it has not disappeared. Lucida Grande, the default font for many UI elements of legacy versions of Apple's OS X operating system, includes the interrobang, and Microsoft provides several versions of the interrobang in the Wingdings 2 character set (on the right bracket and tilde keys on US keyboard layouts), included with Microsoft Office.[14] It was accepted into Unicode[15] and is included in several fonts, including Lucida Sans Unicode, Arial Unicode MS, and Calibri, the default font in the Office 2007, 2010, and 2013 suites.[16]

Inverted interrobang

A reverse and upside-down interrobang (combining ¿ and ¡, Unicode character: ⸘), suitable for starting phrases in Spanish, Galician and Asturian—which use inverted question and exclamation marks—is called an "inverted interrobang" or a gnaborretni (interrobang spelled backwards), but the latter is rarely used.[17] In current practice, interrobang-like emphatic ambiguity in Hispanic languages is usually achieved by including both sets of punctuation marks one inside the other (¿¡De verdad!? or ¡¿De verdad?! [Really!?]).[18] Older usage, still official but not widespread, recommended mixing the punctuation marks: ¡Verdad? or ¿Verdad![19]

Further information: Inverted question and exclamation marks § Mixtures

Entering and display

See also: Unicode input

Few modern typefaces or fonts include a glyph for the interrobang character. The standard interrobang is at Unicode code point U+203D INTERROBANG. The inverted interrobang is at Unicode code point U+2E18 INVERTED INTERROBANG.[20] Single-character versions of the double-glyph versions are also available at code points U+2048 QUESTION EXCLAMATION MARK and U+2049 EXCLAMATION QUESTION MARK.[20]

On a Linux system supporting the Compose key, an interrobang can be produced by Compose!?; reversing the order (Compose?!) creates the inverted interrobang.

On macOS, it is found on the Character Palette, obtained by pressing the key combination Ctrl+⌘ Cmd+Space.

The interrobang can be inserted in HTML with ‽.

The interrobang can be displayed in LaTeX by using the package textcomp and the command \textinterrobang. The inverted interrobang is the command \textinterrobangdown.

Examples of use

The State Library of New South Wales, in Australia, uses an interrobang as its logo,[21] as does the educational publishing company Pearson, which thus intends to convey "the excitement and fun of learning".[22]

Chief Judge Frank H. Easterbrook used an interrobang in the 2012 United States Seventh Circuit opinion Robert F. Booth Trust v. Crowley.[23][24]

Australian Federal Court Justice Michael Wigney used an interrobang in the first paragraph of his 2018 judgment in Faruqi v Latham [2018] FCA 1328 (defamation proceedings between former Federal Opposition Leader Mark Latham and political campaigner and writer Osman Faruqi).[25]

In chess, an interrobang is used to represent a dubious move, one that is questionable but possibly has merits.[26] (See also the evaluation symbols ?! (dubious move) and !? (interesting move).)

See also


  1. ^ "Interrobang". Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary.
  2. ^ "interabang". The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (5th ed.). November 1, 2011. Archived from the original on November 14, 2012. Retrieved June 14, 2012.
  3. ^ Mandeville, Henry (1851). A Course of Reading for Common Schools and the Lower Classes of Academies. Archived from the original on September 15, 2021. Retrieved November 22, 2013.
  4. ^ Gleckler, Arthur. "The Jargon File". Archived from the original on April 26, 2012. Retrieved December 7, 2011.
  5. ^ "Martin K. Speckter, 73, Creator of Interrobang". The New York Times. February 16, 1988. Archived from the original on March 20, 2016. Retrieved February 9, 2017.
  6. ^ "Interrobang (Punctuation)". ThoughtCo. Archived from the original on August 6, 2019. Retrieved August 6, 2019.
  7. ^ Punctuation Archived April 2, 2015, at the Wayback Machine. Chicago Style Q&A. Chicago Manual of Style Online. (15th ed.) Accessed August 28, 2007.
  8. ^ "Martin K. Speckter, 73, Creator of Interrobang". New York Times. February 16, 1988. Archived from the original on March 20, 2016.
  9. ^ Spekter, Martin K. (March–April 1962). "Making a New Point, or, How About That …". TYPEtalks.
  10. ^ Burton, Gideon O. "interrogatio". Silva Rhetoricae: The Forest of Rhetoric. Brigham Young University. Archived from the original on November 19, 2005. Retrieved August 28, 2007.
  11. ^ a b Haley, Allan (June 2001). "The Interrobang Is Back". fonthaus.com. Archived from the original on May 7, 2008. Retrieved December 3, 2010.
  12. ^ Houston, Keith (2013). Shady Characters: The Secret Life of Punctuation, Symbols, & Other Typographical Marks. New York: W. W. Norton. p. 29.
  13. ^ Smith-Corona flyer illustrating the Changeable Type system with an exclamation mark / interrobang unit Archived March 26, 2009, at the Wayback Machine Accessed March 7, 2009.
  14. ^ The Interrobang: A Twentieth Century Punctuation Mark. Archived October 13, 2004, at the Wayback Machine Accessed August 28, 2007.
  15. ^ "Unicode Code Charts, General Punctuation, 2000–206F" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on August 4, 2011. Retrieved March 3, 2011.
  16. ^ MSDN fontblog Archived March 7, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. Accessed August 28, 2007.
  17. ^ "Unicode Code Charts, Supplemental Punctuation, 2E00–2E7F" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on August 12, 2011. Retrieved March 3, 2011.
  18. ^ RAE's Diccionario Panhispánico de Dudas Archived May 8, 2020, at the Wayback Machine (in Spanish)
  19. ^ de Buen, Jorge (2008). Manual de diseño editorial (3rd ed.). Gijón: Trea. ISBN 978-84-9704-378-6.[page needed]
  20. ^ a b Everson, Michael. Proposal to add INVERTED INTERROBANG to the UCS Archived May 24, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, April 1, 2005
  21. ^ "State Library |New South Wales". State Library of NSW. November 11, 2015. Archived from the original on January 8, 2022. Retrieved January 8, 2022.
  22. ^ "Pearson Brand Guidelines: Logo" (PDF). Pearson.com. 2016. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 12, 2016. Retrieved July 13, 2017.
  23. ^ Roman Mars (July 10, 2018). "Interrobang". 99% Invisible (Podcast). Radiotopia. Archived from the original on July 30, 2018. Retrieved July 29, 2018.
  24. ^ Easterbrook, Frank H (June 13, 2012). "Robert F. Booth Trust v. Crowley" (PDF). p. 8. Archived (PDF) from the original on July 18, 2018. Retrieved July 18, 2018. We don't get it. In order to avoid a risk of antitrust litigation, the company should be put through the litigation wringer (this suit) with certainty‽ How can replacing a 1% or even a 20% chance of a bad thing with a 100% chance of the same bad thing make investors better off?
  25. ^ "Faruqi v Latham [2018] FCA 1328". www.judgments.fedcourt.gov.au. Archived from the original on January 25, 2022. Retrieved September 16, 2020.
  26. ^ Matanović, Aleksander, ed. (1973). Šahovski Informator [Chess Informant]. Vol. 14. Belgrade. pp. 8–9.((cite book)): CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)