Proposal for a new punctuation mark


54 Responses to “Proposal for a new punctuation mark”

  1. Jellodyne says:

    The exclamation point has already filled this role! We need to replace the traditional role of the exclamation point with a double exclamation point!! This is just the cost of living in an era of exclamation point inflation!!!

  2. Just_Ok says:

    Great idea!

  3. Cowicide says:

    I <3 it.

  4. capnmarrrrk says:

    Rorschach approves

  5. Kenmrph says:

    I am extremely excited about this idea.

    • Rod Sullivan says:

      What would help us out of this morass would be a punctuation mark which expresses the profound apathy we feel when reading much of what’s on the web.

      A pithy name for the i-don’t-give-a-shit mark.

  6. Peter says:

    I don’t think it’s really necessary.  But I do kind of think we need, standardized, a type of quotation mark for denoting digital text-based communication.  Like, quotation marks are fine to use for that sometimes, but if you’re writing a story or a news article or something and mixing vocal conversation and a person reading a text-message in the same scene, it can be a little confusing.

  7. dioptase says:

    No .–.

    • GawainLavers says:

      The mark does remind me of one of the Oatmeal’s “alienation faces”, if sideways.  Maybe the problem is not distinguishing between high excitement and sincerity, but between sincerity and sincerity and insincerity?  My problem has never been between period and exclamation mark, but between period and ellipsis…

  8. Along not dissimilar lines, I recently proposed software that helps break the exclamation habit by giving you a set number of exclamation points to use per week:

  9. Magill Foote says:

    I think we need a /sarcasm punctuation mark much more than the half-hearted exclamation mark.

  10. shutz says:

    I feel there’s a much more pressing need for an irony/sarcasm mark.

  11. Nadreck says:

    We also need question and exclamation marks with commas instead of periods at the bottom so that you don’t have to end the sentence when using them.

  12. Rob says:

    (> <)

    • awjt says:


      I hate all punctuation.  I use it, well, well, not well, because I was trained to: but I hate it.  Ever try writing code in javascript, java or vb?  Or, any of a dozen other (shitty) languages.  Most of the time, your shit just doesn’t WORK because you have a single quote in the wrong place or a semicolon, not to mention all the parenteticals for flow control…  I mean, MOST of my time is spent fixing punctuation for the stupid, ridiculous inflexible conventions of the language I’m using.  It’s a huge waste of time.  In short, my life SUCKS because of punctuation.

  13. waetherman says:

    This reminds me of that brilliant Onion article; Porn-Desensitized Internet Demands New Orifice.

  14. bfarn says:

    Whatever.  I get excited emails from highly erudite editors of widely respected literary/cultural journals all the time.

  15. That’s already doable:



  16. noah django says:

    >You like it‽

    well, no.  at first I didn’t understand the application, but after reading the link, I realized that I have also used an exclamation point unnecessarily to avoid making a statement seem deadpan or sarcastic.  there is a need for a mark that says “sincerity and goodwill” without “unbridled enthusiasm.”

    I do not think the glyph proposed by Susan is the solution, though.  it is visually *more* ostentatious than an exclamation point and therefore suggests even more excitement.  naming it “the king” in Spanish gives the same impression.

    if a period sits on the baseline of the text, and the exclamation rises to the top of the text, shouldn’t this proposed glyph lie somewhere in the middle?  what if it was bent over to suggest a muting of the exclamation?  “¬.” but bent the other way?  i dunno.  IANAtypographer, but the elrey ain’t working for me.

    punctuating with a smile works pretty well, too, come to think of it :)

    • hymenopterid says:

      If there was a punctuation mark that denoted a lack of sarcasm I’m pretty sure all the sarcastic people would start using it ironically.

      Which retort seems more scathing?

      –I just got a new Bosch oven!
      –I’m so happy for you!
      –I just got a new Bosch oven!
      –I’m so happy for you (sincerity mark)

      • noah django says:

         I see the wisdom of it.  I do find it irksome that sometimes a period used correctly/meant benignly can connote a deadpan delivery.  perhaps a “deadpan” mark over the period is more to the point (ha.)  though I’m heavily in favor of discarding the whole concept now.

  17. Snowlark says:

    Anyone who writes like this needs a dose of Raymond Carver, two hours a day, stat.

  18. I think the real solution would be to give low electrical shocks whenever the sign-which-shall-not-be-named gets typed. 

  19. Bill Banks says:

    My colleague and I have taken to capitalizing the last two letters in a word to accomplish the same tone.

    ThanKS. sits right between Thanks. and Thanks!

  20. robotnik says:


  21. Their feldspars says:

    It occurred to me that there was a need for a less excitedly frantic mark in 1978, so I started using “½!”–back then, there was a ½ key on the keyboard. Perhaps now its day has arrived ½!

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      So if you’re really excited, you use !², and if you’re peeing yourself with enthusiasm, !³ ?

      • Their feldspars says:

        Actually, I’m more subdued than that, though I can imagine that some might want to go that way. However, it’s easy to add more exclamation points…fewer than one, but more than zero, is the challenge. A very excited person could make the entire sentence factorial! Wait…that won’t work.

  22. TheOven says:

    There will never be any new punctuation in the English language.

  23. petsounds says:

    I don’t think it communicates the concept well. How about an exclamation point on its side?

    I’m so excited to go to Jeff’s party on Friday._

  24. VibroCount says:

    A composition professor referred to exclamation points as “dumbshiats.” (without the a)

    He believed that if the exclamation worked well when the word dumbshiat was used in the place of the punctuation, then the exclamation point was usuable.

    “Really, dumbshiat?” works. “Ouch, dumbshiat” works. “Thanks, dumbshiat” does, on occasion, work.

  25. This is a seriously unnecessary idea.

    I use ~. It works great. More enthusiastic than period, less screamtastic than an exclamation point.

    Wow cool~

  26. Though I don’t know why this page is showing it at the top and not the middle of letters.

  27. userw014 says:

    We are stuck with design decisions made by the Digital Equipment Corp made for the DECWRITER series of printing terminals (LA-30, LA-120, etc) and the VT100/VT102 display terminals.

    Does your keyboard have a US cents sign?  Yes, I’m sure it’s in Unicode, but it isn’t accessible.  What about 1/2, 1/4, etc. symbols?  Those are available in various ways too – but not on a conventional QWERTY keyboard.  I believe these symbols were on IBM 3270 terminals – but not on DEC terminals.

    Want to go really strange?  APL had an enormous number of symbols and required special displays and keyboards.  The American Library Association had a design for online library catalogs that required special keyboards and displays.

    Special displays aren’t a problem these days – but there is limited space on a keyboard, and unless a symbol can find a standard location on a keyboard (some combination of FN/SHIFT/CONTROL/OPTION/COMMAND/WINDOWS LATIN, then it won’t be used by the masses.

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