What is it?
No, I’m not suffering from a bout of sudden-onset backwardsness.
But, it is a backwards question mark. A percontation point, if you will.
When would you use such a thing? Oh, far more often than you might think …
For instance: when feeling a bit snappy, a might peckish, a tad sarcastic, or a wee bit snarky.
It’s something called irony punctuation, and it’s a form of notation used to denote sarcasm.
Um, yes, please.
No need to insert an eye-rolling emoji, a #sarcasm, or an explanation for your text in the form of parentheses any longer.
You may think that this is a newfangled, modern-day addition to our English language and punctuation, but you’d be wrong. The percontation point was invented by English printer Henry Denham in the 1580s. And we thought we were the most sarcastic of the generations … all hail, Grandad Snark!
You can use the percontation point (sometimes called the irony mark) as you see fit. In a way, it’s used to sneakily admit there is more to your writing than meets the eye. A sarcastic layer of meaning might have been missed the first time through.
Essentially, it’s a grammar tool used to make the not-so-perky reader feel even less perky. Now, if I could only find it on my keyboard. #percontation point!