History of the exclamation mark
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!. History of The Exclamation mark. By Rachel Weiss and Jordan Knight. What is it?. The exclamation mark , or exclamation point , is a punctuation mark usually used after an interjection or exclamation to indicate strong feelings or high volume and often marks the end of a sentence .

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History of The Exclamation mark

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History of the exclamation mark

!

History of The Exclamation mark

By Rachel Weiss and Jordan Knight


What is it

What is it?

  • The exclamation mark, or exclamation point, is a punctuation mark usually used after an interjection or exclamation to indicate strong feelings or high volume and often marks the end of a sentence.

Where does it come from?

  • One theory of origin is that is was a Latin exclamation of joy (io) written with the I above the o.


Introduction into printing

Introduction Into Printing

  • The exclamation mark was introduced into English printing in the 15th century, and was called the “sign of admiration or exclamation” or the "note of admiration" until the mid 17th century. In German orthography, the sign made its first appearance in the Luther Bible in 1797.

  • The exclamation mark did not have its own dedicated key on standard manual typewriters before the 1970s. Instead, one typed a period, backspaced, and typed an apostrophe.


Fun facts

Fun Facts

  • In the 1950s, secretarial dictation and typesetting manuals in America referred to the mark as “bang”, perhaps from comic books where the ! appeared in dialogue balloons to represent a gun being fired, although the nickname probably emerged from letterpress printing.

  • There are even a few places with exclamation points in their names:

    • Westward Ho!, a town in England, is named after the Charles Kingsley novel.

    • Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha! is a real town in Quebec.

    • Hamilton, Ohio, changed its name to Hamilton! in 1986.

  • This bang usage is behind the titles of the interrobang, an uncommon typographic character, and a shebang line, a feature of Unix computer systems.


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