Sometimes an exclamation mark, question mark, or comma may not be enough to express what you want when writing. And sometimes being grammatically correct may prevent you from expressing precisely what you need to express. Or maybe you get the urge to be a little creative when you’re writing.
Here are some uncommon punctuation marks you can use in your writing. You can find many of them in the MS Word symbols list or find them on Wikimedia.
The acclamation point is used to demonstrate an enthusiastic sense of goodwill or welcome and is placed at the end of a sentence. You would use it when welcoming someone, or when an act of welcoming is occurring.
In astronomy, an asterism is a group of stars. In punctuation, an asterism is used to divide chapters, verses, stories, or any other elements in a text. Publishers don’t typically use them anymore, opting for line breaks and bolded lines instead. They’re also known as a “triple asterisk,” as they’re formed with three asterisk marks. They should also not be confused with the “therefore” symbol, which is made up of three solid points that form a triangle.
When writers use an authority point, it indicates they have the expertise and authority to back what they just wrote. It also indicates that what they wrote should be taken seriously.
The word “caret” is Latin for “it lacks.” The caret is mainly used to indicate something that’s missing from the original text. Many editors, English teachers and students alike are usually familiar with the caret, although it’s not as common as it once was when everything was written on paper.
While it looks like the authority point in some respects, the horizontal line on the certitude point doesn’t curve downward. When using this, writers are claiming they’re very confident in what they’ve just written, but aren’t necessarily stating they have the research to back up what they’re saying. This punctuation would best be used instead of writing in all caps.
† ‡ Dagger and Double Dagger
This punctuation is also called the obelisk. It was once used by editors to indicate superfluous text that needed to be cut out from a piece of writing, as well as repetitions. Now, however, it’s often used to indicate a footnote on a document when an asterisk has already been used, and is sometimes called the “reference mark.”
This punctuation indicates doubt. So, instead of using a string of question marks at the end of a statement a writer is unsure about, such as “We’re going to the store now???” he or she would insert the doubt point instead.
An ElRey mark should be used at the end of a sentence to indicate positivity and joyfulness, but not over-the-top joyfulness. When a writer is feeling positive, but not literally jumping up and down with excitement, he or she should use this punctuation.
The word “hedera” in Latin means “ivy.” The hedera punctuation was intended to look like an ivy plant, and was used to separate paragraphs in written documents. It’s no wonder it’s not commonly used, at least not in handwritten texts, as it’s challenging to write quickly for those who may be more artistically inept.
If you want to ask a question excitedly, use the interrobang instead of “?!” at the end of the sentence. This is perhaps one of the more useful punctuation marks on this list, as it could easily be used often. It’s used to express surprise and unbelief simultaneously.
The irony point looks like a backward question mark. It sometimes has a more pronounced squiggle in the larger piece above the point and can be smaller in size. It typically precedes a written passage and is a combination of an irony mark and a percontation point. It’s used to indicate there may be a hidden subtext or second layer of meaning in a sentence; a meaning that can’t be derived literally from the text. A lot of literature enthusiasts, however, might think that this punctuation takes all the fun out of reading a text. Sometimes this punctuation is used for rhetorical questions that don’t require a real answer and is called a rhetorical question mark.
This punctuation is also often used interchangeably with the “sarcasm mark” or the “snark mark,” which looks like this:
The sarcasm mark is used to indicate a sarcastic passage of text, which also has a double meaning that shouldn’t be taken literally.
The love point has been replaced with the face emoji that has enlarged heart-shaped eyes. But when used, it expresses a mirrored sentiment or emotion, or amorous subtext.
What’s your favorite type of punctuation? Share with us in the comments below. Sometimes an exclamation mark, question mark, or comma may not be enough to express what you want when writing. And sometimes being grammatically correct may prevent you from expressing precisely what you need to express. Or maybe you get the urge to be a little creative when you’re writing.