02 Aug

Support for interrobang characters of “!?” and “?!” has been added to doc manager and story submissions. We are not supporting the Unicode version of interrobang since the Unicode version is a single character combining both ? and ! which is entirely illegible on screen. Spanish’s interrobang equivalent  has been added as well.

We like to stress that the value of interrobang and proper usage has been debated among academics and here is our take on it.

When and why you should not use interrobang:

  1. Interrobang is very new and old school writers frown upon it. If you like to be hired to editing work for established publishing house or enter a career in writing, don’t use it.
  2. Professors and teachers just might give you a shifty eye. If you are writing essays for literature class or publishing theses  for university, avoid using it.
  3. Laziness. Words and language itself can be highly expressive when creativity is injected. Relying on a punctuation mark to improve your expressiveness will not help you to improve as a writer.

When and why you should use interrobang:

  1. Want to be a rebel with a cause? The world is changing and so will our words!

Regardless, times change and maybe interrobang will be accepted by the mainstream in the future. For now, use with care or even better, avoid it whenever possible.


Posted by on 08/02/2012 in language


Tags: , ,

84 responses to “Interrobang!?

  1. alixe75

    08/02/2012 at 5:31 am

    Sorry, I can’t really answer your question, I write in french.

    I want to talk about another topic: Howhe favorites are used. We discussed this on a forum and I discovered that many people use it as to-read-list, which explains the use without reviews, and make the sort by favorites not as reliable that it could be .

    So I suggest to add functionality to a list of fics to read, which would be attached to our account (so a different system from that which existed previously and allowed to return to a story).

    Thank you again for all the new features that you have installed and the space for dialogue that you have established here.

    • konarciq

      08/02/2012 at 10:10 am

      That would be useful, yes: sort of a *to read* list. That could be completely private – not something other readers (or authors) have any interest in.
      It’s not always easy to find back stories if one doesn’t quite remember the title…

    • cmcwiki

      08/02/2012 at 12:28 pm

      I believe that favorites are for stories that you have already read that you want to be able to click back to at your own leisure. Whilst alerts are for stories that you are looking forward to and don’t want to miss the update. especially for stories outside your usual genre.

      as for to read lists, i typically bookmark the chapters i want to read day by day to take care of later, like on tuesday i would bookmark the fics for monday. otherwise i have a huuuuge list of bookmarks for harry potter stories i want to read, it was 500 stories long!, i think i have 470 or 480 something stories left on that list, though part of that is from ffnet removing HP charaters read books stories. Pity too because shopaholic1369 was going to do a story on the aftermath of that reading where the hp cast go to town on death eaters and vodiebutt.

      but i am rambling, as for your suggestion, i remember something similar in previous version of ffnet, storymarks, it would save the chapter that you are on and can click and go to that story. dunno what happened to it, but occasionally the list would clear and you would lose your storymarked stories. good idea though

      • yemi hikari

        08/02/2012 at 1:00 pm

        I’ve yet to come across a “read the book” series that didn’t constitute copyright infringement and plagiarism. The ones that don’t constitute copyright infringement and plagiarism are actually not against site rules and would not be removed by the site admins. However, this requires no lifting of the actual text from the books unless a quote is ABSOLUTELY important to the story and then… it is just better NOT to quote.

    • yemi hikari

      08/02/2012 at 12:54 pm

      I second this. I’ve seen some people create C2s specifically for reading purposes too.

  2. Estelli

    08/02/2012 at 6:32 am


    Well. I use this thing sometimes… I didn’t know it was this big thing people were debating. So this is the weirdest blog from FF I have seen. I didn’t even know it was called an interrobang until now…. I just called it a question mark and exclamation mark together. It seemed like any other writing form. But alright… Thanks for teaching me something new.

  3. Ashbear (@AshbearVIII)

    08/02/2012 at 6:46 am

    I have a question that I’m not sure has been addressed and I’m sorry for asking. I’m part of a C2 that opened recently. I know we have subscribers/followers and we get notifications when people follow and I, myself, follow it – yet it still says 0. We just had our first of many stories added today to it; I thought maybe it didn’t activate until a story was added, but it still says 0 nor did I get a notification a story had been added like other C2s I’m a member of. I made sure, along with another user, and neither of us got emails about that (we’re still getting tons on forum replies – so, again, it’s not an email issue) and we do get notification when someone follows.

  4. GOP

    08/02/2012 at 7:35 am

    Can add support for non-breaking spaces? “The Chicago Manual of Style” calls for the periods in ellipses to have a space between them (. . .) as opposed to there being no spaces (…). A non-breaking space is called for to prevent the individual periods from breaking on separate lines. But because there is no support for non-breaking spaces, I’ve had to just use three periods without spaces.

    Admittedly, few fan fiction writers are going to be familiar with “Chicago,” and ellipses will continue to be overused by novice writers. But adding non-breaking space support would be nice.

    • yemi hikari

      08/02/2012 at 1:09 pm

      While writers should be allowed to use (. . .) I’m going to point out that the use of (…) is not incorrect either.

    • Guest

      08/02/2012 at 1:30 pm

      I prefer the ellipses as they are with no spacing between the periods (…). They remain together when text wraps to a new line. It’s more aesthetically pleasing to the eye.

      If FFN adds support for spacing between the periods (. . .), we might end up with awkward wrapping that cannot be controlled due to various fonts, text sizes and screen resolutions. For example:

      Sue waved her hand and a plume of smoke filled the air. “How did she …” Jack said. The smoke cleared revealing an empty stage.

      Depending on where the ellipses fall in a paragraph, it might appear like this:

      Sue waved her hand and a plume of smoke filled the air. “How did she . .
      .” Jack said. The smoke cleared revealing an empty stage.

      Not the best writing, but it’s what I could come up with on short notice. 🙂

      • yemi hikari

        08/02/2012 at 4:10 pm

        I’ve always thought it looked better without the spaces myself.

    • cindella204

      08/02/2012 at 11:53 pm

      That’s why it’s like that! I am actually familiar with Modern Language Association because that’s what my school uses, but that calles for spaces too :O I hate how the spaces look, but that’s technically “correct”. I’ll probably keep the ellipses in my more informally written stories, but sometimes I upload school work and it would be nice to have the non-breaking spaces for those.

  5. The Imaginatrix

    08/02/2012 at 8:27 am

    Another completely off-topic post, but this is the best way to get an answer for my questions. I know there’s a limit of 10 documents allowed in the outbox in Doc-Ex, but is there a limit to how many documents can be in your inbox? And if you’ve viewed them, do they have a certain time-limit after which they are deleted? I’m eager to know, as I’m knew to this system.

  6. conanon

    08/02/2012 at 9:46 am

    Interrobangs do have a place in the grammar. As I am growing up, interrobangs are quite common and necessary for direct communiation. I would bet my laptop I’m typing on that many people today actually consider smileys as indispensable tools of language. These structs insert tellers’ emotions that are obviously missing from a text. Now as a writer, they seem odd if only because interrobangs, smileys and such things are used to ‘express’ oneself but when someone is telling a story, she/he has to use actual words to describe the emotions and expressions of the protagonist. It is the difference between being a story (non-verbal communication present and intended) vs telling it (no such thing; any non-verbal communication by the story-teller are that of his/her rather than belonging to story itself).

    • yemi hikari

      08/02/2012 at 11:10 pm

      However, you can use Interrobangs when it comes to titles.

  7. FonzFan82

    08/02/2012 at 1:15 pm

    What I’d like to see happen more often is that the small fandoms could use more reviews, more story alerts, more favorites, etc. I write for small fandoms like Happy Days and Andy Griffith Show and they are small but getting a bit bigger. Lots of readers who read stories in those categories don’t seem to reply on stories or leave story alerts at all during the story when somebody like myself posts a story even when the story is completed it will still be without an alert or whatever. My stories at fictionpress are the same way and the fandoms are bigger but nobody would review over there either for some reason. This is something I’d like to see happen more often with the small categories is more action with reviews, story favorites, etc.

    • PrincessBea

      08/02/2012 at 4:00 pm

      There’s no way site adminstrators can force people to review in small fandoms, nor can they force them to review your specific works, doesn’t work that way (I remember you had posted this question earlier on another blog thread, asking why the new review format still failed to net you readers/reviewers). Simply put, and I explained this to you in a very concise and instructive review I left for you on your work after seeing your original complaint, readers are NOT going to review, favorite, or alert your work when it is so poorly written. In order to get reviews, you have to actually WRITE something WORTH reviewing, and as I explained before, your stories really needed a lot of help and I suggested you get a beta to assist you. I was even notified by someone in one of your fandoms that they had tried hard to assist you in becoming a better writer and you refused their help, so when you don’t want to make a single one of any of the suggested changes readers HAVE told you are problems in your work, you will NOT get ANY reviews, readers will be turned off by the poorly constructed nature of your writing. I’m sorry to sound so harsh, but just because you write and post on here doesn’t mean you’re automatically entitled to reviews or alerts or favorites, you have to actually put some time and effort into creating a good read that will MAKE readers want to comment, and I refer you to my reviews as far as finding the problematic areas where you may be driving readers off of your stories. Reviews are a privilege, not a right on this site, and if it bothers you so much that no one is commenting on your stuff, then no offense, but maybe your best bet would be to pull the stories and just circulate them among your friends and family, I’m sure they can give you the praise and approval you seek.

    • yemi hikari

      08/02/2012 at 4:13 pm

      I honestly don’t see your point. Reviews, alerts and favorites all depend on who is reading the story and who wishes to review, alert or favorite. The site admins can’t force people to review. This all depends on the type of reader, the size of the fandom and the popularity of the fandom, among other things.

    • Shawnesty

      08/02/2012 at 7:43 pm

      FonzFan, the site adminstrators can’t force people to review your work. If you’re not getting reviews or alerts, or people aren’t favoriting your story, has it occurred to you that maybe there’s something wrong with how you write? I took a look at your stuff and in all brutal honesty, your stories really need a lot of work, they’re not good at all. A few reviewers pointed out some very real issues that render your stories unenjoyable for readers and offered you some very good advice on how to fix those problems and improve your work, so why not listen to them and take their suggestions, rather than coming here to complain that no one is reviewing your stories? I write in some small fandoms myself and I know that if I want to get reviews or alerts or be favorited, I need to put a lot of time and energy into my stories to make sure that they’re a really good read. That’s the only way fans in your realms will bother to review or favorite your work, you have to first provide them with a story that’s good enough that they’ll want to comment or fave it. It’s not the site’s problem that you’re not getting reviews, and instead of expecting the site to force people to review or complaining that the new updates aren’t nabbing you reviewers or faves, maybe you need to take a good hard look at what you’re writing and see if what you’re posting on here is why readers are not commenting or faving. I think you may find your answer in your own work, as bitter of an answer as it may be.

      • FonzFan82

        08/02/2012 at 8:13 pm

        I am having some people help with my writings right now so we’re getting that taken care of, Shawnesty. My friends I preview my stories to think I have talent and I like the ideas I come up with but when I look at them before I post I don’t see anything wrong with them since they are good stories and they are interesting. I always look back at the stuff I write and I know they’re a good read even when there are people who haven’t reviewed quite yet. When you saw my works, did you like the ideas I came up with? I know they are but like I have mentioned I have others helping me right now so as you saw in the reviews I’m working on that right now so I thought I’d mention it.

      • Shawnesty

        08/02/2012 at 8:53 pm

        Yes, Fonzfan, you’ve got some really interesting ideas, but they’re never allowed to really blossom. You have way too much conversation between the characters and not enough active detail or action to draw a reader in, and in any story, there’s got to be an even balance between conversation and action. There’s no descriptions to set scenes for your readers and to my ear, a lot of the conversations sound really stiff and awkward, not like people would talk at all. Of course your friends are going to tell you that you have talent, they don’t want to hurt your feelings, and it’s true when you read your own work it will sound fine to you because you know how you’ve written it and what was going through your mind as you formed the various angles. But the thing is, when you post here, you’re not just writing for yourself, you’re “selling” your work to other fans of the shows, and what you think is good in your work may not read that way to those fans, hence the lack of reviews, alerts and faves to your work. That’s really great that you’ve gotten some people to help you with your stories, maybe with their assistance and advice, your work will improve to the point where you will start getting those reviews. It’s always a good idea for any writer to have an unbiased eye look their work over, they can not only spot errors, but sometimes can tell you if something isn’t working in a piece.

      • yemi hikari

        08/02/2012 at 11:19 pm

        @FronzFan82 – My personal experience is that friends fawn over their friends work no matter the quality. One reason is they don’t want to hurt their friends feelings and the other is that friends tend to run with the same “likes” and “dislikes” at the same time. When a writer aims for the “likes” and “dislikes” that they and their friends share they sell themselves short in the fact their target audience is not very big. As the other person has said, the fact you are getting help is a good thing. However, read more fanfiction even if it is outside of the small fandom. That helps too.

    • KH

      08/03/2012 at 6:10 pm

      @FonzFan82~It doesn’t matter what the size of the fandom is, you could write in some of the really big fandoms and still lack reviews, simply because the bigger the fandom is, the more people there are writing for it, so there’s more stories updating frequently and bumping your work down really fast before it gets noticed. The site can’t force anyone to review or alert or favorite a story, that isn’t the point of the site at all and readers shouldn’t be held hostage and expected to review on everything they read. It’s a matter of intruding on individual rights and free will and the minute that starts happening, I can guarantee you that people will rebel and resent it. So my advice to you is that if you want reviews and alerts on your work, then you need to make sure what you’re posting are quality stories that people will actually want to comment on or follow. I also took a glance at some of your stuff and it’s pretty bland and uninteresting, with not much plot or detail to draw in readers. If you’ve engaged people to help you with your writing, that’s a good step in the right direction and I encourage you to listen to them and their advice, it may improve your work to the point that you will start getting reviews.

      • FonzFan82

        08/04/2012 at 8:31 am

        @Shawnesty: Maybe I should mention one friend thought I would be a bestselling book author but I told her I only write for the fun of it but if you want to you could help me with my stories to make them look better. To tel the truth, my friends do like my stories so that tells you something. Let me know if you like this idea or not on helping me out. @Princess Bea: Take a look at my better stories “Track of the Storm” and “Andrew Jones Cold Case” and see for yourself but I won’t waste my time taking the stories down because I’ve done that 2 times so far and I don’t want to keep doing that since you should know by now it annoys readers. The review you left on Arnold’s Story go to myfandoms dot com and read ch 24 of “Henry’s TV Comeback” and there would be your answer on who died. I’m answering your review here so you could find out which story to look for on your own answer. I think this should help.

      • Shawnesty

        08/04/2012 at 3:21 pm

        @FonzFan: Your friends are going to tell you whatever you want to hear, and that includes telling you that you could be a bestselling book author. And I really hate to dump cold harsh water on your dream, but sorry, your work wouldn’t even be given a second glance by a publisher, it simply is not good at all and not bestseller material. That’s great that your friends think so highly of your work, perhaps you should seriously consider just circulating your stories among them, where you will get the praise you want, rather than posting on the site where people will ignore your work because it’s not well-done at all. No offense and at the risk of really sounding rude, I think you have a bit of an overinflated ego, just from reading your repeated responses on here to the comments people have made (but my friends think I could be a bestselling author! My friends think my work is fabulous!) and from reading some of the reviews you’ve left for others in your fandoms (I want to start getting reviews because the minute I do, I’m going to go big on this site!), and I suspect perhaps your ego is getting in the way of allowing you to improve your work so it’s readable (i.e.; you think your work is perfect as it is and don’t want to make any suggested changes to fix it). As to my helping you with your work, sorry, I’m not a beta on the site and between juggling my own writing endeavors, family, work, and other obligations, I’m not able to assist you. But there are plenty of people registered on the site as far as betas, I’d encourage you to check into that and maybe get someone who will give you unbiased assistance and less ego-stroking than your friends are doing because all that ego pumping is not doing you any good at all, it’s blinding you to the fact that your stories aren’t great and they’re very far from being bestselling novel material.

      • PrincessBea

        08/04/2012 at 9:30 pm

        FonzFan~No one said you needed to take your stories down. Readers merely offered you advice for improving your work so that you might start to get reviews like you seek. For the record, on your “Arnold’s Story” piece, there was NOTHING in it to advise readers that they needed to read any other story in order to understand that one, so if the two pieces are connected, it might be prudent to put some kind of note, either in that particular story or in your excruciatingly long profile, that readers need to read the “Henry’s TV Comeback” piece before reading the story about Arnold. The fact is, if you don’t want to bother listening to anyone that is trying to help you better your work and you think your stories are fine as they are, then you are not going to get any reviews. As others pointed out, your friends are going to tell you what you want to hear, they don’t want to hurt your feelings. I hate to shoot you down, but you are not anywhere close to being a bestselling author, any material you would submit to a publishing house would get rejected post-haste. Have you considered taking some classes in creative writing as a means to better your work? I’m sure there’s some courses available in your area, usually as an offshoot of an area college under the “personal enrichment” classes. That might be an excellent way for you to get feedback and assistance in making your stories more enjoyable, so I urge you to check them out to see if it’s something you might be interested in.

  8. Alysse

    08/02/2012 at 1:31 pm

    I always considered it useful for when someone was yelling a question, and I felt like a lot of my dialogue lost its power when the exclamation point was removed to leave just the question mark. How, exactly, is that so ridiculously frowned upon? If I say someone’s yelling, and they happen to be yelling a question, shouldn’t it be 100% acceptable to, you know, ADD AN EXCLAMATION POINT? You don’t say someone’s shouting something and then have just a period. Why would it be any different for a question?

    Well, whatever. Maybe one day I’ll go back through my 100+ chapters and replace the exclamation point that was so kindly removed in a few instances. Probably not, though.

    Better late than never, I guess.

    • Guest

      08/02/2012 at 2:00 pm

      I must be an old fart. 🙂 The use of interrobangs feels lazy to me. Solid writing and good dialogue don’t require unnecessary fillers.

      Let’s see if I can come up with an example:

      Joan’s cheeks flushed. Her knuckles turned white as her fingers curled into fists at her sides. “What do you think you are doing?”

      That shows me Joan is angry. In comparison, adding ?! to the end looks clumsy to my eyes:

      Joan’s cheeks flushed. Her knuckles turned white as her fingers curled into fists at her sides. “What do you think you are doing?!”

      I cannot recall any professional author I’ve read employing interrobangs. My preferred genres are thrillers, adventures and mysteries. Perhaps it’s different for others. I suppose I’ll keep on not using them and skip stories where authors pile them on.

      • Alysse

        08/02/2012 at 2:08 pm

        See, that example doesn’t even feel like there SHOULD be yelling to me. I wouldn’t have thought of it as a shout, so the interrobang does look clumsy there. Anger doesn’t always mean shouting, anyway, and that example didn’t even really seem to express anger to me.

        But please, continue to skip stories where authors “pile them on.” Because the use of one or two of them every few chapters obviously means that an author’s not worth reading. Thank you for the indirect insult! 🙂

      • Guest

        08/02/2012 at 4:18 pm

        I’m sorry if my comments were taken as an indirect insult, Alysse. It certainly wasn’t my intention.

        As for my example, it’s not my best work. 🙂 I spend weeks and months composing and editing chapters. Writing on a whim isn’t my strong suit. But I do stand by my sentiment – just as authors are free to use the new feature, readers are free to skip stories that overuse it.

        Now, I’m aware the interrobang has been around since the early 1900s, but I do not recall seeing it used in any professional novel. Can anyone point me to an example? Maybe if I see it used in a proper context, I might change my stance.

      • yemi hikari

        08/02/2012 at 4:18 pm

        It thought we’re supposed to do it this way.

        “Joan’s cheeks flushed. Her knuckles turned white as her fingers curled into fists at her sides. “What do you think you are doing!” ”

        I think I’ve seen a few published authors doing this, but it is honestly rare. The target audience was preteens and teens for these few books. Despite this, it felt very unprofessional.

      • Guest

        08/02/2012 at 4:27 pm

        @yemi hikari – I believe your example is correct. It definitely packs more emotional punch with the exclamation point, as opposed to using the question mark.

        I was also taught the same rules, now that you mention it. I need to brush up on my punctuation. 🙂

      • dr.girlfriend

        08/05/2012 at 10:25 am

        Probably more info than you wanted, but here’s the example I remember where it was deleted from my story (the set-up is Wolverine and Rogue in a car, but they just met):

        “No hospital,” he snapped. “Don’t worry, the shot’ll work its way out before the wounds close.” He realized his mistake as soon as the words left his mouth. It took her a few seconds, but he saw the sudden stillness come over her.

        “You’ve been shot before,” she said, and he could practically see her mind piecing it together. “And you don’t want to go to the authorities.” He saw that icy calmness creep back into her demeanor as her scent changed sharply. She was no longer afraid for him, now she was afraid of him. “Who do you work for? Did he send you to find me?”

        Shit. Had she sensed Xavier was trying to track her?

        Not much he could do now but flat-out lie. He had hoped to talk her around to meeting with the old man, but as edgy as she was now if he admitted Xavier sent him she would throw him out of the car right now and be long gone by the time he was able to get anywhere on foot.

        “No one sent me,” he growled, resorting to surliness to hide the unease he felt lying to her. “It’s just that … I’m … ” He saw her brace herself as he groped for a possible explanation. A felon? A Christian Scientist?” Well, there was always the truth. “…Canadian.”

        He heard her surprised huff of laughter, and spared her a sidelong glance.

        “Canadian?” she exclaimed.

        “Canadian,” he said firmly, as if daring her to say more about it. He added grudgingly, “I didn’t exactly fill out a bunch of paperwork when I crossed the border. Hospitals want forms filled out and ID cards and social security numbers…”


        Originally I just had her say “Canadian!?” which I thought was funnier, but since they took out the exclamation mark I had to add the “she exclaimed” or have her say “Canadian!” which sounds just…celebratory. lol.

      • Guest

        08/05/2012 at 11:34 pm

        @dr.girlfriend – Fun excerpt. I don’t usually wander over to the X-Men category, but I might have to check your story out. The voices are strong and the characterizations ring true to the movies (my only familiarity with the world).

        While reading it, I tried to decipher where you intended the interrobang to go. I like it just as it’s presented. I can hear the incredulity in Rogue’s voice when she exclaims, “Canadian?”

        As one of the stodgy folks on here :), I think the interrobang would take away from the feel. It would force me to interpret the humor, whereas in its current form, the humor shines naturally. Just my two cents.

      • dr.girlfriend

        08/06/2012 at 3:44 pm

        @Guest Yes, c’mon over! I write under “doctorg”, dr. girlfriend is my usual internet alias but it was probably taken when I signed on. 😉 I think it all comes down to style. For people who don’t mind the interrobang, sometimes the impact of a single word is worth the double punctuation. For others it’s not, but I think what people are arguing is that if it’s a deliberate style choice, then that’s part of the judgment you make in your writing and not for someone else to call “lazy” or an error. It’s not like e .e. cummings had poor capitalization skills. And of course I’m not saying that your average fanfic writer is a genius who can set their own rules, but everyone takes pride in their work and the feeling of “What?! That’s not what I wrote!” (see the interrobang there? — lovely!) is no fun for anyone who attends to such details. And that’s what was happening…the posted story was just idiosyncratically different from the submitted story.

    • yemi hikari

      08/02/2012 at 4:15 pm

      I was taught that when you had a question that was yelled you always picked the exclamation point because the sentence itself identifies itself as a question.

    • favonilla

      08/02/2012 at 4:35 pm

      I don’t care for the interrobang myself – I find it gives the text a bit of a cartoonish feel. But I’m the kind who’ll debate with oneself for an hour over whether to use an exclamation point, and then leave it out anyway. In most cases, if the writing is competent, it doesn’t need the extra punctuation to indicate emphasis.

      If writers want to use the interrobang, it’s harmless enough. But they should take into account that some readers are going to be sniffy about it, and of course, like any special effect, they must be used with discretion.

      • Guest

        08/02/2012 at 5:23 pm

        Interesting perspective. I never gave my use of exclamation points much thought. I’ll have to look over my work to see how often I exploit them and whether they are necessary for the dialogue. Editing the sentences so they are not needed might tighten my writing skills. Thanks for the tip!

      • yemi hikari

        08/02/2012 at 11:21 pm

        The only time interrobang has felt right was in Titles and stuff where there was a few words. I guess poetry would be a good example actually too. But actual story telling?

      • Visitor/Writer

        08/03/2012 at 9:25 pm

        I write very formally – for work. When I write fiction, I write informally. I want to give the reader a sense of how the character speaks or thinks. Perhaps I write this way because I don’t make as much of a distinction between prose and poetry as other writers. I watch my spelling (naturally) but I do break grammar rules intentionally. Would use the interrobang constantly? No. It wasn’t until I was almost all the way done posting a 28-chapter story when I realized it wasn’t available. But I think a writer should have a few options. Writers a lot better than I ever hope to be have “abused” the written language a great deal more than I have – and more power to them.

  9. Arthur Hansen

    08/02/2012 at 2:53 pm

    The “!?” is /not/ a new symbol, BTW. I believe I’ve heard of it being used from the beginning of the last century. Purists will hate it, but as long as I consistently use my rules and its legible, the can suck it up.

    • yemi hikari

      08/02/2012 at 4:24 pm

      I’d love to see someone tell that to their publisher when they’re using interrobang for something other then titles, text art and logos.

      • Arthur Hansen

        08/02/2012 at 6:03 pm

        So I guess its a good thing that ‘publishers’ don’t exist that don’t require that level of proofreading! I mean, it isn’t like or exist!

      • Anon

        08/03/2012 at 12:42 am

        I found a website, , that at the very bottom talks about the interrobang and is probably a good resource for people who would like to try using the interrobang.

        From my google search of the term, it seems like short questions like “What the?!” are the ones that are most appropriate in informal writing. Another thing that I saw was that it could be used to represent sarcasm.

      • Kat

        08/03/2012 at 3:50 am

        Terry Pratchett sells hundreds of millions of books world-wide, and he frequently uses interrobangs.

        There are lots and lots of writers out there who don’t use “correct” grammar and punctuation, and they’re still darn good writers. When it comes to writing *fiction*, a lot of rules can be twisted without publishers blinking an eye.

      • yemi hikari

        08/03/2012 at 5:13 pm

        @ Kat – Is Terry Prachett’s work really a good example Think very carefully about what genre he writes in and you’ll figure out why he’s able to use in his work without being called out for breaking away from grammar. He and every other writer who breaks grammar rules pick and choose when they break away from them. Each and every time they break a rule they do it with reason. That’s why they are considered good writers and why the publishers let them get away with breaking grammar rules. They know what they’re doing when they break the grammar, which is different then a good deal of us fanfic writers, isn’t it?

      • Kat

        08/03/2012 at 7:53 pm

        The point I was trying to make is that breaking grammar rules is not necessarily a bad thing. Stating that you’re not going to get your works published just because you use interrobangs or any other kind of incorrect punctuation is just unrealistic. I would also point out that a lot of “us fanfic writers” know what we are doing as well. For the admins of ffnet to state that using interrobangs is “laziness” is incredibly condescending and insulting to writers who take their work seriously.

      • dr.girlfriend

        08/05/2012 at 12:08 pm

        @Kat — I get you. The blog post was a tad condescending, but probably aimed at the vast majority of fan fiction writers who are still figuring out grammar and punctuation issues, not individuals who selectively choose to defy the general rules for effect. If I throw in double punctuation, or use dashes more than the average author, or deliberately not use subjunctive tense, I do so as a conscious choice, not out of ignorance. I think the best approach is to make the grammar and punctuation elsewhere in your story impeccable, and then people *know* when you’re doing something wrong on purpose. 😉

  10. Christine

    08/02/2012 at 6:58 pm

    I’m really grateful for all of the changes and don’t want to sound like a pest, but the horizontal rule problem still hasn’t been fixed. Are the lines ever going to become darker? I have such a hard time reading stories when the horizontal rule is practically invisible.

    Also, can we please have the option of disabling the spellchecker? A disable option would come in handy for users who prefer Firefox/Chrome’s built-in spellcheck.

    • Shawnesty

      08/02/2012 at 8:59 pm

      I think to disable the spell/grammar checker on, just don’t click on the “proofread writing” button after uploading to the document manager. I just tested it on a document I uploaded and until I hit the “proofread writing” button, my document remained unproofed. Apologies if I’m wrong.

      • Christine

        08/02/2012 at 10:06 pm

        It’s not really the spellchecker that bothers me. I just happen to prefer Firefox’s built-in spellcheck, which doesn’t work anymore thanks to the new feature. A disable option would be useful for those of us who find it more convenient to use the internet brower’s built-in spellcheck.

  11. Amy

    08/02/2012 at 8:06 pm

    can’t get rid of my profile pic even after deleting it.
    i think book covers are disorganized looking. besides that, picture-stealing is running rampant on it isn’t fair to the devArtists. please get rid of this ridiculous feature. It’s a writing website after all.

    • Christine

      08/02/2012 at 8:46 pm

      When you change your profile pic, it takes about 24 hours for the change to take affect. Maybe it takes 24 hours for a pic to be deleted as well?

      I would have to agree about the story covers. They’re a cool idea, but I think they’re more of a distraction than anything else.

      • Anon

        08/03/2012 at 12:21 am

        I have to agree with you on the story covers. Most of the images are probably not the property of the one posting them. This is a writing site, not an art site. Besides, I rarely see writers on dA use preview pictures and would love to see story covers disabled on Fanfiction.

      • yemi hikari

        08/03/2012 at 5:05 pm

        @ – Anon – The writers on DA don’t tend to use preview pictures because most of them don’t realize there is such a function. The ones who do know about it do in fact use it.

    • Arthur Hansen

      08/03/2012 at 12:42 am

      You do realize some of us are also artists and really like the new option?

    • yemi hikari

      08/03/2012 at 5:02 pm

      If you find a cover that doesn’t belong to someone and they don’t have permission report it.

      I like being able to use my art work for cover art simply because published novels do have covers.

  12. Astoria25

    08/02/2012 at 10:43 pm

    Thanks Xing! This is really nice of you!

    @ everybody

    It really depends on the language. In English, proper questions are always going to be understood without the need for an exclamation mark (Someone already mentioned of “what do you think you’re doing!”) but in Spanish the question mark is really needed, as most questions can come across as statements. There’s “¡Hiciste la tarea!” (you did your homework!) and “¿Hiciste la tarea?” (did you do your homework?), and they’re only differentiated by a chnage of pitch. Stating anger in the actions of the chacter (She was angry, she looked at him and bellowed “¿¡Hiciste la tarea?!”) or anything akin to that would be useless, since without the question mark it would only be a very, very, angry statement.

    As I mentioned in a previous post, “¿..!” and “¡…?” are also correct in Spanish but not used often. Besides, sometimes the question is so long, you kind of forget the what exclamation/interrogation mark was that it was a t the beginning (you can get very long-winded in Spanish).

    It also depends on context; to me, in a printed medium to use “¿…!” and “¡…?” is lazy and woudl rather have “¡¿…?!” or “¿¡…!?”, but I often employ the aforementioned ways of making a question when hand-wiritng, for brevity’s sake.

    There’s a lot of personal preference involved (and don’t get me started on alelí vs. alhelí and such).

    • yemi hikari

      08/02/2012 at 11:24 pm

      I’m more bothered by it being used in languages it isn’t supposed to be in. I’d forgotten that it was used in Spanish until you pointed it out.

  13. cindella204

    08/03/2012 at 12:02 am

    Oh boy, the interrobang. I use it very occasionally in dialogue, but my main character in my main story actually doesn’t yell that much, so it doesn’t come up a lot. I’ve used it twice in my 62,096 word story, I don’t feel too bad about that…I understand that is unprofessional, and I’d NEVER use it in something for school, even if it was creative writing, but I think I can use it every once in awhile on FF.N without feeling to bad.

    I have a character with a hot temper (he just doesn’t yell when he gets angry) so I have a few things that say this is *serious* rather than, oh boy he’s mad again. They include the interrobang and the word “g*dd*mn” (I use that WAY less than the f word, I hate that word). If that’s unprofessional than sorry.

  14. Anon

    08/03/2012 at 12:29 am

    I know this is probably not the correct place, but I’m not happy about the response I have been getting. This (One Direction Story) needs to be deleted NOW. It is a real person fanfiction story about One Direction and has one chapter where there is 18 mentions of the f-word or a variation of it. This is the worst offending story that this author has.

    Also, the author of this story does not understand the difference between a Pokemon fanfic and a real person fanfic.

    • Guest

      08/03/2012 at 1:46 am

      @ Anon,

      I totally understand your frustration. I have been reporting a series of extremely explicit stories which I caught my 13 yr old reading on this site. I have emailed the site admins as well as reported all the stories daily since catching my daughter reading these stories using the abuse link in the writers stories including all the info such as story links, profile links and cut and paste of the explicit scenes that the abuse reports ask for with no response at all. I even posted a link here in the forum in the hope someone would finally take notice but still nothing despite the fact that on the front page it is stated these type of stories are not allowed. I am extremely disappointed with the admins response and I am really hoping the next improvement to the site is an improvement with how abuse reports are handled.

      • vanilluxe

        08/04/2012 at 12:51 am

        I do hope you realize that despite stories like that being against the site’s policy, the onus isn’t entirely on the site to make sure your daughter avoids those sorts of stories. She’ll be able to find stories like that one tons of other sites, so really, the best method is to monitor your daughter’s internet activity more closely and discuss the matter with her. Reporting stories left and right won’t really resolve the issue in its entirety. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

      • Guest

        08/05/2012 at 9:00 pm


        I fully agree with you about where there is a will there will always be a way (And unfortunately no matter how vigilant as parents we try to be and what we tell our kids- kids will be kids and will still try and do what they have been told not to) My daughter did have consequence for her behavior, she has lost total internet privileges. I do try and monitor her internet activity closely – that’s how she was caught, But if the site states on its front page that explicit stories are against TOS then they need to show that they take their own TOS seriously and react when they get a abuse report telling them that there is an explicit story on their site and act on it or change their TOS about explicit stories.

        I also totally agree that parents share a huge part of the responsibility on monitoring what their kids access on the internet but in the same breath also has a responsibility to act on abuse reports when they are made aware that their TOS is being blatantly broken, These stories are still up on the site and I am sure the writer will continue to post explicit stories to the site because they believes the site admins don’t really care.

        Sorry about the rant but I do wish that the site would do something soon to improve the way they handle their abuse reports instead of giving the appearance that they ignore them,

  15. Kelly Paradise

    08/03/2012 at 6:41 am

    Thank you!

    I know it’s not totally grammatically correct, and normally I’m really serious about grammar, but as somebody who has grown up with graphic novels, I have no problem with interrobangs. Thank you for respecting us folks who use them, even if the staff dislikes them. 🙂

  16. myrddinlefay

    08/03/2012 at 7:08 am

    So does this mean I can have a character shouting while asking a question?

    If so, cool, I would also like to be allowed to hyphenate in chapter titles, and put in points (.).

  17. ortrouge

    08/03/2012 at 10:24 am

    how do you write a story!? i already wrote one, but i dont know how to post it, Help please!

  18. Jan

    08/03/2012 at 10:25 am

    About time

  19. dr.girlfriend

    08/05/2012 at 10:14 am

    Yay! You’re giving me delusions of grandeur, granting changes I coincidentally happened to ask about just days earlier. 😉

    Plus, I learned a new term — interrobang! It sounds both grammatical and dirty, which is fantastic. I’ve only used this a few times, when I felt it was absolutely necessary, and in those circumstances I felt that the auto-delete of the second punctuation mark often really diminished the impact of what I was trying to convey.

  20. Ann

    08/05/2012 at 11:47 am

    Can you please allow these —> >.> <.>
    I’ve never understood why we can’t use these symbols in the forums. Can you *please* enable them, or at least provide a good explanation why they aren’t allowed. Thanks

    • Arthur Hansen

      08/05/2012 at 8:34 pm

      They are part of HTML tags/bracketing. In HTML if you did word it would normally bold the ‘word’ you selected. Unfortunately, if you allow HTML in stories, it would allow people to imbed nastiness (ads, malware, etc).

      • Anon

        08/06/2012 at 12:51 am

        Also, some characters are used in MySQL and we can’t have those characters because then someone could do some crazy things to the database that fanfiction runs on.

  21. I Am The Anti-Hero Calmasis

    08/05/2012 at 9:36 pm

    I honestly like the question-mark-exclamation point combo >:I I mean, it isn’t proper in some cases – like standard dialogue, but if put into a chat setting (like two characters conversing through IM in a story) someone might use it. But because of the blockage, it’s gone.

    Then again, some people are using ?! instead of ? because it isn’t taken as a full blown exclamation at points.

    Because “Where are you?!” has more force than “Where are you?”

    • yemi hikari

      08/06/2012 at 2:43 am

      Friendly reminder, be sure not to have a script format based entry.

      • I Am The Anti-Hero Calmasis

        08/06/2012 at 9:43 am

        I know it’s not supposed to be entirely script. Just like a moment for the character to stop and chat with someone – it may be important to the storyline.

    • myrddinlefay

      08/06/2012 at 6:15 am

      It looks better like this “!?” because its a ‘shouted’ question or heavily emphasised question. It looks better this way too. I would also like thins like – or . to be allowed in chapter and story titles.

      • I Am The Anti-Hero Calmasis

        08/06/2012 at 9:45 am

        Exactly. Dashes (-) help quite a lot! And the Less Than () signs! They aren’t allowed. Things like @, #, $, %, ^, , and ?! help a lot, actually.

  22. debra

    08/12/2012 at 5:35 pm

    I think the interrobang is perfectly acceptable, if, that is, one is writing a cartoonish type of story. If the story is more formal, then the interrobang would adversely affect the intended tone.

    I happen to use interrobang frequently, and hardly ever wrung my hands over its use. Even in art pieces!

  23. pip25

    08/29/2012 at 7:31 pm

    Thank you, thank you! I can finally use the normal “?!” punctuation again. This has been a great thorn in my side for a long time.
    As for grammatical correctness, certain languages, such as Hungarian, already recognize the “?!” punctuation in their “official” rulesets as 100% valid and usable.

  24. gcat

    11/05/2012 at 3:00 pm

    I fully support the decision to let authors use interrobangs. On the whole, I don’t really agree with the idea of forcibly changing an author’s stylistic decisions via auto-delete, and I certainly believe that there are situations where it’s warranted. Sure, it gives the work an informal, ‘cartoonish’ feel. I really don’t think that’s always a bad thing.

    I’m in particular affected by these sorts of things (although not the interrobang issue in particular) because I write for a fandom in which canon bends language and ‘proper’ rules of formatting in all kinds of crazy ways depending on the speaker, often indicating an extremely informal tone. It can actually be jarring to see these secondary elements missing, especially for a person like me who strongly prefers her fanfiction to keep as closely as possible to the style of the original story.

  25. Hermes Replica Bags

    01/26/2013 at 1:23 am

    commanded the highest cost.The actual fickleness of haute coutureThe fickleness involouis vuitton replicaing high fashion quickly fired up the actual fledgling ostric

  26. Tonja

    03/27/2013 at 6:54 pm

    First of all the use of a ? (question mark) and an ! (exclamation point) is *not* frowned upon in academia. I am in college right now and my professor used it just last week when describing a point to us about inflation. So, whoever wrote that is obviously either A) Out of touch, or B) Doesn’t know what he/she is talking about. One of the things I am beginning to notice about this site that has been complained about by a lot of very accomplished authors is that it is trying to control what an author publishes and this concept of deleting a story because of bad puncuation seems rather like a Gustappo style tactic. Why not call yourselves the SS of FF and be done with the pretense?!

    Oops! Look at that… there I did it–I went and used the INTERROBANG!! My bad. However, I felt it was needed there. Are you going to delete me fanfic?


  27. yhanie

    09/01/2013 at 4:56 am

    i like you


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