Bader Scott Injury Lawyer - May 2020

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INSIDE THIS ISSUE

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A Life Lesson From Luis’ Mom

Bird-Watching for Beginners

Meet Our Very First Receptionist

How to Spot Medical Malpractice

Grilled Prime Rib

Have You Heard of the Interrobang?

WHY THE INTERROBANG FIZZLED OUT PUNCTUATION’S PROBLEM CHILD

It’s a punctuation mark that’s over 50 years old, but you may not have heard of it before. It’s an odd- looking squiggle that denotes a common inflection, but many experts argue it has no place on paper. In an age when thoughts are limited to 280 characters, wouldn’t a single punctuation mark that does the job of two be valuable? Some say yes, others say no thank you. So what is this mystery punctuation mark? It’s the interrobang! In 1962, advertising agent Martin K. Speckter believed ads would look better if rhetorical questions were conveyed using a single mark. He merged the question mark, also called an interrogative point, with the exclamation point, known in the jargon of printers as a “bang,” and the interrobang was born. In the first few years of its existence, the interrobang made some mild headway, appearing in some dictionaries and even on some typewriters in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. And while it was used in magazine and newspaper articles for several years, it wasn’t meant to last.

There are a few explanations for why the interrobang never took off, but the most prominent one says that as writing styles changed, there was less use of rhetorical questions in writing, especially formal writing. Because the interrobang was originally intended to denote rhetorical questions, it faded from use. Today, using the two punctuation marks that make up the interrobang is still popular, especially in nonformal writing like social media copy. Any variation of “!?” denotes a sense of excitement, urgency, or disbelief in the form of a question, rhetorical or not. But the reason people don’t use the interrobang to serve the same purpose is simple: It’s not a key on keyboards. There are still certain fonts that are equipped to display the nonstandard mark, but if you want to use it, you have to go digging for it. It’s just much quicker to write two punctuation marks than search for a single one. But who knows what the future will bring? Language is in an ever-changing state, and the interrobang may rise again. Or will it?

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