There is an Irony Mark in Punctuation

Today I found out there is an irony mark in punctuation.  The irony mark specifically is a backwards question mark: ؟

This mark was originally proposed by the 19th century French poet Alcanter de Brahm, also known as Marcel Bernhardt.  Around the same time other “second level” punctuation marks were proposed.   For instance, Tara Liloia and Josh Greenman suggested a “sarcasm mark” should be added to common punctuation.

Later, Herve Bazin, in his book, Plumons l’Oiseau in 1966, used this irony mark and also suggested several other new punctuation marks including the doubt point, certitude point, acclamation point,  authority point, indignation point, and love point.

Though the irony mark isn’t widely used or commonly known, it is used occasionally in mostly obscure literary works.  In order to help  it become more widely adopted, it has been recently suggested that the “irony mark” should be expanded to also include such things as “sarcasm” and “satire” and similar such notions.

If you liked this article, you might also enjoy our new popular podcast, The BrainFood Show (iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, Feed), as well as:

Expand for References:
Share the Knowledge! FacebooktwitterredditpinteresttumblrmailFacebooktwitterredditpinteresttumblrmail
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Enjoy this article? Join over 50,000 Subscribers getting our FREE Daily Knowledge and Weekly Wrap newsletters:

Subscribe Me To:  | 


  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Barbara Mack, Matthias Rascher. Matthias Rascher said: There is an Irony Mark in Punctuation: ؟ #punctuation #language #weird […]

  • Actually, several new punctuation marks have been developed recently and have proven to be quite useful to people. They are: