What’s Your [Percontation] Point?


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!


  1. Karlyne says:

    Yes! I want it on my keyboard!

  2. BB king says:

    Wow , that is the most useful thing I have learned in ages ! I am normally a fairly sarcastic person, in my humor. .I know i will use this alot

  3. Krista says:

    Why is this not on keyboards or more well known?! I would be using it all the time! Looks like it’s time to start a new trend.

  4. Marti says:

    so, it seems there are many of us who use sarcasm regularly lol

  5. Karlyne says:

    I just wanted to let you know that the grandgirl has added the percontation point to her list of punctuation marks to study. That should impress just about everybody we know!

  6. Judith Lickteig says:

    As my dgd would say, “I yuv it.!” Yes! I would love this on my keyboard! This post was an educational high of my day. Thank you, MaryJane!

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