15 Punctuation Marks You Probably Don’t Know

In: How to

Punctuation marks are an intrinsic part and what is called bone of bone and flesh of fresh of every modern written language. Punctuation is a vital instrument that helps us to express and emphasize our emotions, or sometimes may even completely change the meaning of the sentence. Just remember the famous example ‘James while John had had had had had had had had had had had a better effect on the teacher’. How about you try to turn this set of words into normal sentence using only two commas, three quotation marks and one semicolon? You have two minutes to do it! But well, seems like we little digressed from our subject. Mary Norris once said: “Punctuation is a deeply conservative club. It hardly ever admits a new member.” Indeed, most of us use conventional punctuation marks, such as commas, dashes, colons and ellipsis, every day literally in autopilot mode. But have you ever heard about Interrobang, Snark Mark, Asterism or Exclamation Comma? Today we decided to step back a little from our usual grammar blogposts and gathered for you 15 coolest punctuation marks you probably don’t know about.          

1. Interrobang

This handsome guy is a glorious mix of Exclamation and Question mark introduced by Martin K. Speckter in 1962. It’s used at the end of the sentence in order to emphasize one’s excitement, disbelief, et cetera. Actually, it’s a perfect way to ask “What the hell is going on here?!” with the single punctuation mark.

2. Asterism

Asterism is like a shiny star of present-day TV commercials. It has a loud brand name, stylish cool look and absolutely no practical usage. Actually, it’s a kind of obsolete symbol to designate minor breaks in the text. Well, at least know you know that three stars are used not only on hotel sign plates and cognac labels.    

3. Snark

Snark Mark named after Lewis Carroll’s fictional character and also known as Irony Mark or Percontation Point is a real troll of English punctuation. It looks like tricky reversed question mark and is used to indicate the second layer of meaning in the statement usually being of sarcastic or ironic nature. Therefore, it’s a perfect way to tell some annoying guy online that he’s stupid and make boast of your broad-based punctuation knowledge at the same time.         

4. Dagger and Double Dagger Marks

This little guy with really dangerous nickname and his double-headed buddy are also known as obelisk or diesis. Originally this gangster-style crew was used in remarks to literally cut out the extraneous parts of the manuscript, but today they have obviously winded up with gun-and-knife-club activity and started a peaceful law-obedient life as an asterisk-style footnote.  

5. Therefore Sign

This one, also known as Because Sign, is generally used before a logical consequence to designate the conclusion of syllogism. If you ask me, it’s a real shame that this little fellow is so rarely used in formal writing, because it could really save much time and relieve many non-native speakers from mistakes in usage of conjunctions.

6. Pilcrow

Pilcrow aka paragraph mark is much more common that other punctuation marks described in this blogpost, so I guess you’ve probably already seen it more than once. Although it’s not so rare, it still has classy appearance and several fancy nicknames, including ‘The Blind P’. This one is especially cool and sounds like a great name for the best grunge record of the decade.

7. Caret

The caret named after the Latin word ‘caret’, which can be literally translated as ‘it lacks’, is also known as chevron, xor sign, uparrow, hat and power of pointer. It’s probably the favorite punctuation mark of our team. If our website had its own coat of arms, there would be definitely a caret on it because it was originally used as the proofreading mark that indicated a missing word, phrase or other punctuation mark, such as comma. Oh, and yeah, unlike most other punctuation starlets in this blogpost it even can be easily typed by pressing Shift + 6. I knew I loved it for a reason.                   

8. Sheffer Stroke

Sheffer Stroke is named after American logician Henry M. Sheffer and is mainly used to denote logical operations and other similar stuff in Boolean. Although Sheffer Stroke is barely used in the conventional written speech, it’s still useful to know that this punctuation mark does exist. Oh, well, ok, you got the length of foot. We added it just for the sake of numbers.      

9. Fleuron aka Hedera

Hedera literally means ‘ivy’ in Latin. It’s one of the oldest ornaments in the history of typography and is currently used to mark paragraph brakes in the text. I personally don’t envy the guys that had to draw it in handwriting instead of conventional three asterisks, but, well, it looks really posh.

10. Guillemets

Guillemets are rarely used in English language, but play really important role in other languages’ punctuation, where they represent the quotation marks. Guillemets are named after French printer Guillaume Le Bé and can be literally translated as ‘Little Williams’, which is quite cute.

11. Section Sign

Section sign is also known as silcrow. It serves for marking section breaks in the text and is usually used by the lawyers who are too awesome to use normal punctuation.

12. Solidus

Don’t confuse it with boring backslash or old-fashioned British dudes will come and beat you to death with their top hats. Few decades ago Solidus was used mainly in financial quotes to separate different currency values.

13. Acclamation Point

Acclamation point that basically looks like two italic exclamation marks was introduced by French author Herve Bazin. According to author, it should be used as a demonstration of goodwill or welcome. In general, it’s like these little flags on Presidential limousine. “Hey, everyone, come out here! Big guy came to town!”

14. Exclamation Comma and Question Comma

Exclamation comma and question comma may be used to express one’s excitement or interrogative intonation without ending the sentence. And, yes, sorry for no picture, but since they were invented in 1992 it’s barely possible to type them for Windows user even in Unicode. Basically these are conventional exclamation and question marks with commas instead of the period.

15. Love Point

Now the best for the last! The love point is another punctuation mark introduced by Bazin. According to author idea it should be used to express one’s affection in writing. Although it’s much easier to type ‘<3’ than dealing with Unicode to type the love point, it’s still sweet, isn’t it?

Post Scriptum

Yes, the unusual, rare and ironic punctuation marks are quite interesting, but don’t forget that Snark Mark and Acclamation Point will never substitute conventional dashes and commas. Therefore, if you need any expert assistance in finding and fixing punctuation mistakes in your paper, feel free to order an expert proofreading and editing services offered by our online editing company.