Sometimes a simple simple comma or period isn’t good enough. Maybe you just wrote something brilliantly snarky, but you’re concerned that people will miss the subtleties of your sarcasm. Or perhaps you want to ask a rhetorical question, but you don’t want people to mistake it for a more mundane interrogative. With the current system, you don’t have much of a choice. Just slap a period or question mark at the end and pray that people are paying attention. Our punctuation options seem remarkably limited.
I suppose the day may come when these functions will be filled by the ever-growing universe of emoticons, and we’ll sprinkle our writings with smiling, winking, and smirking little faces. That terrifying future probably isn’t too far off.
Or we could adopt some of these handy little punctuation marks. I’ve commented before on the fabulous percontation point, which lets you signal that rhetorical question, and the much-needed exclamation comma, for those times when you get really excited in the middle of a sentence. But here are some other punctuation possibilities.