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Irony punctuation is any proposed form of notation used to denote
irony Irony (), in its broadest sense, is a rhetorical device In rhetoric Rhetoric () is the art Art is a diverse range of (products of) human activities involving creative imagination to express technical proficiency, beauty, emoti ...

irony
or
sarcasm Sarcasm is the caustic use of irony Irony (), in its broadest sense, is a rhetorical device In rhetoric Rhetoric () is the art Art is a diverse range of (products of) human activities involving creative imagination to expres ...
in text. Written
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages are a language family A language is a structured system of communication use ...

English
lacks a standard way to mark irony, and several forms of
punctuation Punctuation (or sometimes interpunction) is the use of spacing, conventional signs (called punctuation marks), and certain typographical devices as aids to the understanding and correct reading of written text, whether read silently or aloud. An ...
have been proposed. Among the oldest and most frequently attested is the percontation point proposed by English printer
Henry Denham Henry Denham was one of the outstanding English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has ...
in the 1580s, and the irony mark, used by
Marcellin Jobard Jean-Baptiste-Ambroise-Marcellin Jobard (17 May 1792 – 27 October 1861) was a Belgian lithographer, photographer and inventor of French origin. Founder of the first significant Belgian lithographic establishment, first photographer in Belgium ...
and French poet
Alcanter de Brahm Irony punctuation is any proposed form of notation used to denote irony or sarcasm in text. Written English language, English lacks a standard way to mark irony, and several forms of punctuation have been proposed. Among the oldest and most fre ...
during the 19th century. Both marks take the form of a reversed
question mark The question mark (also known as interrogation point, query, or eroteme in journalism) is a punctuation, punctuation mark that indicates an interrogative clause or phrase in many languages. History Lynne Truss attributes an early form of the ...

question mark
, "⸮". Irony punctuation is primarily used to indicate that a sentence should be understood at a second level. A bracketed
exclamation point The exclamation mark, , also sometimes referred to as the exclamation point, especially in American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of variety (l ...

exclamation point
or question mark as well as
scare quotes Scare quotes (also called shudder quotes,Pinker, Steven. ''The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century''. Penguin (2014) sneer quotes, and quibble marks) are quotation mark Quotation marks, also kno ...
are also occasionally used to express irony or sarcasm.


Percontation point

The percontation point , a reversed question mark later referred to as a rhetorical question mark, was proposed by
Henry Denham Henry Denham was one of the outstanding English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has ...
in the 1580s and was used at the end of a question that does not require an answer—a
rhetorical question A rhetorical question is one for which the questioner does not expect a direct answer: in many cases it may be intended to start a discourse, or as a means of displaying or emphasize the speaker's or author's opinion on a topic. A common example ...
. Its use died out in the 17th century. This character can be represented using the reversed question mark (⸮) found in Unicode as U+2E2E; another character approximating it is the Arabic question mark (؟), U+061F. The modern question mark (? U+003F) is descended from the "punctus interrogativus" (described as "a lightning flash, striking from right to left"), but unlike the modern question mark, the punctus interrogativus may be contrasted with the punctus percontativus—the former marking questions that require an answer while the latter marks rhetorical questions.


Irony mark

In 1668,
John Wilkins John Wilkins, (14 February 161419 November 1672) was an Anglican ministry, Anglican clergyman, natural philosophy, natural philosopher and author, and was one of the founders of the Royal Society. He was Bishop of Chester from 1668 until his ...

John Wilkins
, in ''
An Essay towards a Real Character and a Philosophical Language ''An Essay Towards a Real Character, and a Philosophical Language'' (London, 1668) is the best-remembered of the numerous works of John Wilkins John Wilkins, (14 February 161419 November 1672) was an Anglican ministry, Anglican clergyman ...
'', proposed using an
inverted exclamation mark
inverted exclamation mark
to punctuate ironic statements. In 1841,
Marcellin Jobard Jean-Baptiste-Ambroise-Marcellin Jobard (17 May 1792 – 27 October 1861) was a Belgian lithographer, photographer and inventor of French origin. Founder of the first significant Belgian lithographic establishment, first photographer in Belgium ...
, a Belgian newspaper publisher, introduced an irony mark in the shape of an oversized arrow head with small stem (rather like an
ideogram An ideogram or ideograph (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its popul ...

ideogram
of a
Christmas tree A Christmas tree is a decorated tree, usually an evergreen In botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist ...

Christmas tree
). The next year he expanded his idea, suggesting the symbol could be used in various orientations (on its side, upside down, etc.) to mark "a point of irritation, an indignation point, a point of hesitation". The irony point (french: point d'ironie) was proposed by the French poet
Alcanter de Brahm Irony punctuation is any proposed form of notation used to denote irony or sarcasm in text. Written English language, English lacks a standard way to mark irony, and several forms of punctuation have been proposed. Among the oldest and most fre ...
(alias, Marcel Bernhardt) in his 1899 book ''L'ostensoir des ironies'' to indicate that a sentence should be understood at a second level (irony, sarcasm, etc.). It is illustrated by a glyph resembling, but not identical to, a small, elevated, backward-facing question mark. The same mark was used earlier by
Marcellin Jobard Jean-Baptiste-Ambroise-Marcellin Jobard (17 May 1792 – 27 October 1861) was a Belgian lithographer, photographer and inventor of French origin. Founder of the first significant Belgian lithographic establishment, first photographer in Belgium ...
in an article dated June 11, 1841, and commented in an 1842 report.Marcellin JOBARD, "Industrie française: rapport sur l'exposition de 1839 – Volume II, p. 350-351." French industry, report on the 1839 exhibition, Vol 2 pp. 350–351 (French text available on-line)
Hervé Bazin Hervé Bazin (; 17 April 191117 February 1996) was a French writer, whose best-known novels covered semi-autobiographical topics of teenage rebellion and dysfunctional families. Biography Bazin, born Jean-Pierre Hervé-Bazin in Angers, Maine-e ...
, in his essay "Plumons l'Oiseau" ("Let's pluck the bird", 1966), used the Greek letter ψ with a dot below for the same purpose . In the same work, the author proposed five other innovative punctuation marks: the "doubt point" , "conviction point" , "acclamation point" , "authority point" , and "love point" . In March 2007, the Dutch foundation CPNB ''(
Collectieve Propaganda van het Nederlandse Boek The Collectieve Propaganda van het Nederlandse Boek (CPNB, "Collective Promotion for the Dutch Book") is a Dutch organization that includes representatives of bookstores and publishers, whose goal is to promote Dutch literature. History and activi ...
)'' presented another design of an irony mark, the ''ironieteken'': (). Point d'ironie de Alcanter de Brahm.svg, Alcanter de Brahm 1899 Irony mark full.svg, Percontation point in Unicode Point d'ironie (Hervé Bazin).svg, Hervé Bazin 1966 Ironiezeichen CPNB.svg, CPNB proposal 2007


Reverse italics (Sartalics)

Tom Driberg Thomas Edward Neil Driberg, Baron Bradwell (22 May 1905 – 12 August 1976) was a British journalist, politician, High church, High Anglican churchman and possible Soviet Union, Soviet spy, who served as a Parliament of the United Kingdom, Mem ...

Tom Driberg
recommended that ironic statements should be printed in italics that lean the other way from conventional italics. Also called Sartalics.


Scare quotes

Scare quotes Scare quotes (also called shudder quotes,Pinker, Steven. ''The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century''. Penguin (2014) sneer quotes, and quibble marks) are quotation mark Quotation marks, also kno ...
are a particular use of
quotation mark Quotation marks, also known as quotes, quote marks, speech marks, inverted commas, or talking marks, are punctuation Punctuation (or sometimes interpunction) is the use of spacing, conventional signs (called punctuation marks), and cer ...
s. They are placed around a word or phrase to indicate that it is not used in the fashion that the writer would personally use it. In contrast to the nominal typographic purpose of quotation marks, the enclosed words are not necessarily quoted from another source. When read aloud, various techniques are used to convey the sense, such as prepending the addition of "so-called" or a similar word or phrase of disdain, using a sarcastic or mocking tone, or using
air quotes The atmosphere of Earth is the layer of gas Gas is one of the four fundamental states of matter In physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (ph ...
, or any combination of the above.


Temherte slaqî

In certain Ethiopic languages, sarcasm and unreal phrases are indicated at the end of a sentence with a sarcasm mark called ''temherte slaqî'' or ''temherte slaq'', a character that looks like the inverted exclamation point (U+00A1) ( ¡ ).


Other typography

Rhetorical questions in some informal situations can use a bracketed question mark, e.g., "Oh, really . The equivalent for an ironic or sarcastic statement would be a bracketed exclamation mark, e.g., "Oh, really . Subtitles, such as in
Teletext A British Ceefax football index page from October 2009, showing the three-digit page numbers for a variety of football news stories Teletext, or broadcast teletext, is a standard for displaying text and rudimentary graphics on suitably equipp ...
, sometimes use an exclamation mark within brackets or parentheses to mark sarcasm. It is common in online conversation among some Internet users to use an
XML Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a markup language #REDIRECT Markup language In computer text processing, a markup language is a system for annotation, annotating a document in a way that is Syntax (logic), syntactically distinguishable fro ...

XML
closing tag: . Over time, it has evolved to lose the angle brackets (/sarcasm) and has subsequently been shortened to /sarc or /s (not to be confused with the HTML end tag </s> used to end a struck-through passage). This usage later evolved into tone indicators. Another example is bracketing text with the symbol for the element
iron Iron () is a chemical element In chemistry Chemistry is the study of the properties and behavior of . It is a that covers the that make up matter to the composed of s, s and s: their composition, structure, properties, behav ...

iron
as a pun of the word "irony" ( and ) in order to denote irony. Typing in all-capital letters, and
emoticons An emoticon (, , rarely pronounced ), short for "emotion icon", also known simply as an emote, is a pictorial representation of a facial expression A facial expression is one or more motions or positions of the muscle Skeletal muscle ...

emoticons
like "Rolling eyes", ":>", and ":P," as well as using the "victory hand"
dingbat In typography, a dingbat (sometimes more formally known as a printer's ornament or printer's character) is an ornament, a glyph The term glyph is used in typography Typography is the art and technique of arranging type to make ...

dingbat
/
emoji An emoji ( ; plural emoji or emojis) is a pictogram A pictogram, also called a pictogramme, pictograph, or simply picto, and in computer usage an icon An icon (from the Greek language, Greek 'image, resemblance') is a religious wor ...

emoji
() character to simulate air quotes, are often used as well, particularly in
instant messaging Instant messaging (IM) technology is a type of online chat allowing real-time text transmission over the Internet or another computer network. Messages are typically transmitted between two or more parties, when each user inputs text and trigge ...

instant messaging
, while a
Twitter Twitter is an American microblogging Microblogging is an online Broadcasting, broadcast medium that exists as a specific form of blogging. A micro-blog differs from a traditional blog in that its content is typically smaller in both actu ...

Twitter
-style
hashtag A hashtag is a metadata tag In information system An information system (IS) is a formal, sociotechnical, organizational system designed to collect, process, store, and distribute information Information can be thought of as the resol ...
, #sarcasm, is also increasingly common. In many gaming communities, the word "Kappa" is frequently used to display sarcasm as well as joking intent. This is due to the word acting as an emoticon on
Twitch Twitch may refer to: Biology * Muscle contraction Muscle contraction is the activation of tension Tension may refer to: Science * Psychological stress * Tension (physics), a force related to the stretching of an object (the opposite of compre ...
, a livestreaming site, where it has gained popularity for such purpose. It is also common to use the combination of an open-parenthesis and an interrogation symbol as "(?" to mark irony. A "SarcMark" symbol requiring custom computer font software was proposed in 2010. Another method of expressing sarcasm is by placing a tilde (~) adjacent to the punctuation. This allows for easy use with any keyboard, as well as variation. Variations include dry sarcasm (~.), enthusiastic sarcasm (~!), and sarcastic questions (~?). The sports blog ''Card Chronicle'' has adopted this methodology by inserting (~) after the period at the end of the sentence. It has also been adopted by the
Udacity Udacity, Inc. is an American for-profit educational organization founded by Sebastian Thrun Sebastian Thrun (born May 14, 1967) is an entrepreneur, educator, and computer scientist from Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , ma ...

Udacity
Machine Learning Nanodegree community. On the Internet, it is common to see alternating uppercase and lowercase lettering to convey a mocking or sarcastic tone, often paired with an image of
SpongeBob SquarePants ''SpongeBob SquarePants'' (also simply referred to as ''SpongeBob'') is an American Animated series, animated Television comedy, comedy Television show, television series created by marine science educator and animator Stephen Hillenburg fo ...
acting like a chicken in the form of
memes A meme ( ) is an idea, behavior, or style that spreads by means of imitation from person to person within a culture and often carries symbolic meaning representing a particular phenomenon or theme. A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ...
. ''
CollegeHumor CollegeHumor is an Internet comedy company based in Los Angeles. Aside from producing content for release on YouTube, it was also a former humor website owned by InterActiveCorp (IAC (company), IAC) until January 2020 when IAC withdrew funding ...
'' jokingly proposed new marks called “sarcastisies” which resemble ragged, or zig-zagged parentheses, used to enclose sarcastic remarks.


See also

*
Emoticon An emoticon (, , rarely pronounced ), short for "emotion icon", also known simply as an emote, is a pictorial representation of a facial expression using Character (symbol), characters—usually punctuation marks, numbers, and letters—to ...

Emoticon
*
Interrobang The interrobang (), also known as the interabang (‽) (often represented by any of ?!, !?, ?!? or !?!), is an unconventional punctuation mark used in various written languages and intended to combine the functions of the question mark, or int ...

Interrobang
*
Inverted question and exclamation marks The inverted question mark, , and inverted exclamation mark, , are punctuation marks used to begin interrogative and exclamatory sentences or clauses in Spanish and some languages which have cultural ties with Spain, such as the Galician langua ...

Inverted question and exclamation marks
(¿¡) *
Poe's law Poe's law is an adage of Internet culture stating that, without a clear indicator of the author's intent, every parody of extremism, extreme views can be mistaken by some readers for a sincere expression of the views being parodied. Origin Poe' ...
* Mirrored question mark *
Internet slang Internet slang (also called Internet shorthand, cyber-slang, netspeak, digispeak or chatspeak) is a non-standard or unofficial form of language used by people on the Internet The Internet (or internet) is the global system of intercon ...
*
Fnord "Fnord" () is a word coined in 1965 by Kerry Thornley and Gregory Hill (writer), Greg Hill in the Discordianism, Discordian religious text ''Principia Discordia''. It entered the popular culture after appearing in ''The Illuminatus! Trilogy'' (1975 ...

Fnord


References


Sources

* *


External links


Ironic Serif: A Brief History of Typographic Snark and the Failed Crusade for an Irony Mark

How to Tell a Joke on the Internet; The new typography of irony
{{navbox punctuation
Punctuation Punctuation (or sometimes interpunction) is the use of spacing, conventional signs (called punctuation marks), and certain typographical devices as aids to the understanding and correct reading of written text, whether read silently or aloud. An ...
Punctuation