The interrobang is unquestionably the most bad ass, yet delightfully practical, piece of punctuation man has conceived. In fact, I am shocked to discover that WordPress does not recognize “interrobang” as a word, seeing as it has been underlined with red, yet to my further disbelief “WordPress” has been recognized as perfectly valid. According to an online article, American Martin Speckter, the head of an advertising agency, first founded the interrobang in 1962. He believed that advertisements would look more presentable if rhetorical questions were expressed with a single mark. By 1968, an interrobang key was available on some Remington typewriters, and by 1970 one could buy replacement interrobang key caps for some Smith-Corona typewriters. Literally comprised of “interro” as short for interrogative question, and “bang” for an exclamation mark, the interrobang was featured in several news and magazine articles during its peak in the 1960s and 70s. Although today seen by the general public as little more than than a fad, many fonts on Microsoft word do include an interrobang. While most casual writers seem perfectly content using the two separate marks, “?!”, to express an excited question, I urge you to reconsider the ease of use in communicating such a frequent emotion with one fluid stroke and a dot. Not to mention how much more fun it is to draw. Trust me.
As for a piece of punctuation that I despise, this was tougher to select because there are many that slow down the creative process of writing, but I’m going to have to go with the reference mark. There is nothing wrong with the reference mark itself, but rather what it signifies. It signifies, a reference to a citation. My least favorite part of academic writing is the technicalities involved with citing sources. I understand this may sound childish, but it surely isn’t that I don’t respect and understand the importance of attributing the people who gave me the ideas for what I wrote. Moreover, it’s the notion that the proper formatting and inclusion of referencing every idea you pulled from someone else (let’s face it, by 2014 almost every “novel” idea comes from another idea) is precedent to the actual writing itself. As someone who doesn’t pay close attention to details, I’ve found it incredibly frustrating in my coursework that if I spend a lot of time creating a particular argument or claim, yet I do not have the proper citation, the entire idea is thrown out the window as rubbish. Again, it might be naive of me, but I believe at the university level a majority of “plagiarism” is unintentional, and more carelessness and lack of attention to detail than true intent of deceit. Because of the anguish bibliographies and sourcing has caused me, the reference mark, symbolically, is a piece of punctuation that far from excites me.