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Saturday, December 19, 2015

Introducing ... The Exclamation Comma and The Question Comma

In 1992, three American geniuses "invented" the exclamation comma and the question comma.

The exclamation comma is "for use within a written sentence between words as a comma, but with more feeling". Likewise, the question comma is for "expressing a question before a sentence has ended".

Brilliant, right?!

One of the co-creators of the two punctuation marks wrote about how he came up with the idea in a post on his Facebook page.

"During a long period writing a technical paper in the early 90s, I was startled in my sleep at 4am when an image of a question mark with a comma below it (instead of a period) suddenly appeared in my mind’s eye. I sprang up in bed yelling, eureka!, so loud that I scared my wife awake. It was the first time I distinctly remember discovering an invention by being startled by such imagery while asleep."

(I'm not sure if this gentleman needs more ... or less ... sleep!)

Sadly, the exclamation comma and the question comma never caught on, and the trio let their Canadian patent lapse.  (Why did these three Americans apply for a Canadian patent?)

They might have had a small glimmer of sustainability (not really) had the punctuation marks ever made it to a keyboard, but they never made the cut. I suppose we could have replaced the rarely (or never) used carrot (^) and tilde (~) ...  but if we got rid of the tilde, how would we make an old-school emoji of sticking out your tongue? :)~

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