Literary Tattoos: Punctuation Interrobang

This is Janelle‘s interabang (interrobang) tattoo.

I’m a graphic designer, and during my first year of art school I fell in love with the interabang; the extinct punctuation mark that combined the qustion mark and the exclamation point for moments like “she said what?!?” and so on. I decided that if my life were a symbol that would be it… surprised proclamation. It sort of became the icon for my life, and even became the name and logo of the design company I started after school. Finally this year on my 25th birthday I took the plunge and got it as my first tattoo. This mark means so much to me, and I’m so happy with it!


This tattoo belongs to Katta from Bremen, Germany.

It’s my first and it is a reference to Terry Pratchett who mentioned “multiple exclamation marks” in some of his Discworld novels. I’m a huge fan and wanted something unobvious which I had drawn myself.

Literary Tattoos: Terry Pratchett Punctuation Exclamation Point Discworld Series

“Multiple exclamation marks,’ he went on, shaking his head, ‘are a sure sign of a diseased mind.” – Eric

“Five exclamation marks, the sure sign of an insane mind.” – Reaper Man

“And all those exclamation marks, you notice? Five? A sure sign of someone who wears his underpants on his head.” – Maskerade


Literary Tattoos: Punctuation Interrobang

This is Bud Johnson‘s interrobang tattoo.

2010 was an incredulous year. I ran a marathon. I bought a house. I got a great new job. I got my first tattoo. I started writing an awesome novel that I hope everyone will hear about one day. Every time something great happened the interrobang just seemed like a better and better choice for a first tattoo. Plus most people who know me wouldn’t think I would get a tattoo ever, even more the reason to get one that encapsulated, “!?”


Literary Tattoos: Semicolon Punctuation

This is Sarah Shay‘s tattoo:

Yep. It’s a semicolon. I’m a grammar and punctuation nerd by nature, and I love the semicolon in particular because, as many semicolon-haters will eagerly point out, you don’t “need” them. Unlike the more utilitarian period or comma, a semicolon never really needs to be used. It’s a stylistic choice; you can create really elegant sentences with them if you know what you are doing. I’m considering an interrobang on the other wrist.


Literary Tattoos: Semicolon Punctuation

This is Gordon Lane’s semicolon tattoo:

this semicolon, on my tricep, was purchased in tucson after returning from mexico city, where i had gone on vacation from the army, an act that would shortly thereafter get me out of the army. it was an appropriate piece of punctuation for the time. plus, i simply love semicolons, even to the excess that william t. vollmann can use them.