May 25, 2008

New Punctuation Mark - A Plea

We have the period.

We have all seen the question mark, right?

We can be absolutely thrilled by the fabulous uses of the exclamation point!

And, who doesn't like a good ol' fashioned interrobang

But, I've been puzzling for a while now about the possibility of a new punctuation mark.

I believe we need a punctuation mark for whispers.

Think about it: we have one to connote excitement, exaggeration, excessive emotionality or greater volume, why not one to mean care, tenderness, quiet or lesser volume?

Before you give me that tired old "but the context of the writing should tell the reader if words are being whispered therefore a whispermark is redundant" argument, I say only that the structure and context of sentences tell the reader quite amply if a question is being asked, but we still find it necessary to employ similarly-redundant question marks in our texts.

So I ask for your help, dear reader, what would you suggest for a whispermark? What would it look like? What would you call it?

I have a couple ideas, but I'd like feedback from you. I'm curious what ideas you might have about this.

Leave your comments with suggestions for the name of the new punctuation mark and descriptions of what it should look like.


Anonymous said...

A whisper mark. Yes, good idea!!
Perhaps it should look something like a tilda ~ ?? Coming at the reader softly and sideways instead of with a bang at the end.

Maybe it should be at the beginning and the end of the sentence to put the reader in the proper, tender, whispery frame of mind for what lies ahead.

~talk to you soon, Brendon~

Brendon Etter said...

Thanks, Myrna.

I think that a whisper mark is not only a good idea, but also kinda sexy. It would easily be the most romantic punctuation mark, unless you consider the exclamation point romantic - I think it's raunchy, not romantic.

I like the Spanish punctuation approach you describe for the whisper mark, like putting the question mark upside down before the sentence... perhaps the whisper mark would be upside down before the sentence and right-side up after.

The whisper mark could be a tilde, I like the gentle "s" curve of it, sort of a reminder of saying "sssshhh" for quiet. Soft. Sibilant. Sexy. I like it, but I'm hoping for an altogether new typographical sign for it.

Any else have ideas for how it should look?

How about the manner in which it should be used?

Also, what should it be called?

Please chime in.