General Question

Spargett's avatar

Who else thinks we should have punctuation to denote sarcasm?

Asked by Spargett (5382points) June 17th, 2008

I feel it’s really needed. Something official so there’s no mistake when it’s used.

Its absurd to think that language, and therefor writing isn’t an living breathing entity that is always evolving.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

55 Answers

playthebanjo's avatar

like LOL ? (except SAR)?

simone54's avatar

Yeah, that is such a great idea.

robmandu's avatar

Sarcasm is indeed very difficult to convey properly in written form. Especially friendly, genial sarcasm, because it invariably gets interpreted as mean and hostile.

About the only punctuation I can think of is to add a wink smiley at the end, ;-) or maybe >:^>. (Of course, that’s only useful for the friendly, genial sarcasm. For hostile sarcasm, no smiley at all… and, even then you hafta hope that the intended recipient is smart enough to pick up on it.)

Perhaps we could start a Fluther convention? Like placing sarcastic comments inside octothorpes?

#The octothorpe is the best of the punctuation marks as its meaning is so-o-o obvious!#

jrpowell's avatar

I don’t see why I would ever need it.

osullivanbr's avatar

Totally a need for it.
Couldn’t we just simply use something like triple quotation marks or something silly like that. Or surround the the sarcastic text in some other symbol.

As in sarcastically said…
”””That was a great answer”””, or
%Oh Wow%

Oh crap, I don’t know what I’m saying to be honest. Carry on

Spargett's avatar

There are so many people who don’t get sarcasm when they can’t see the face you’re making or hear the tone of your voice. For example, If I were to just write:

“I love this band.”

And it were Nickleback, many people would actually think I like Nickleback. God forbid. Anyway, its time. The closest thing to sarcasm I could convey with punctuation would be the phrase in italic with asterisks. But still that’s a band-aid and far from universal.

wildflower's avatar

But spargett, if you wrote: ” I so love! this band!!” Then those that have seen your posts before would probably guess this wasn’t a straight forward genuine statement…..

I find choice of words, formatting and punctuation (!‘s especially) get the message across – if it doesn’t, that just makes me giggle all the more.

robmandu's avatar

heh… found this.

Basically, it calls for the addition of a <sarcasm> container tag to the HTML 5 spec, and have the default browser rendering show the contents in bold comic sans font.

Spargett's avatar


“I so love! this band!!”

That method for sarcasm is the exact same way you would use for actually stating that you loved that band. That’s the problem with sacarm. Too subtle for written use. UNLESS there was a dedicated form of punctuation.


Its great to see someone attempting to tackle the issue, but using an already widely used font for sarcasm won’t work. What happens when you want to use Comic Sans for something but you aren’t being sarcastic? Punctuation is the way to go. The practicality of punctuation transcends every median even including a handwritten note, not just the internet.

robmandu's avatar

I so love Nickelback!! :-|

< < hoping that quote doesn’t come back to haunt him. “But really! It was an example of sarcasm! Seriously! Look at the non-smiley. Get it?”

cheebdragon's avatar

I think there are a lot of people who just never paid enough attention in English class to be able to punctuate their sarcasm correctly.

⇐ not a nickleback fan…....seriously…

paulc's avatar

Wouldn’t we then need to have punctuation for doubtfulness, annoyance, flirtatiousness, etc.?

Many people write as they speak and I’m also totally guilty of it. I don’t think that speech and writing are that similar when conveying a tone. Sarcasm in its written form is all about context and in its spoken form is all about inflection. So then you can’t expect “I so love Celine Dion” to have any effect unless there’s more to it than that. Though you may expect a puking effect.

delirium's avatar

I tend to make thorough use of smilies to denote sarcasm/joking/flirting/irony/absurdism. Or the little <3 when someone is being an asshole to me. I also have a tendency to use the asterisk-action-statements too much.

jrpowell's avatar

Del… All this time and I thought you actually loved me. <3 :-(

bluemukaki's avatar

I think that sarcasm is something that people should just be able to get, if they don’t because we’re all communicating through text then you should use it… or clarify once you user sarcasm. If we need punctuation for sarcasm then we need it for a whole range of things that you have to understand from context and inclination.

marinelife's avatar

“Sarcasm is a deeply under appreciated art form,” she said seriously, genuinely and all smoochy, smoochy.

osullivanbr's avatar

Jeez, Marina, no need for the saracastic tone. Fairness…

jballou's avatar

I agree, and we also need an emoticon for rolling your eyes or scoffing.

Knotmyday's avatar

What about laughing derisively? Haw. Haw. Haw.

tupara's avatar

Or a ‘Meow’ to indicate general cattiness.

gailcalled's avatar

I wonder whether irony works better than sarcasm, since it is subtler. I personally find sarcasm -spoken or written – doesn’t do much for me. Why not simply say, “I loathe Celine Dion?” and save the other stuff for the chat room.

For me, language usually works (along with a teeny aside.) And I find getting my point across and the tone I want a challenge. But I have always been interested in styles of writing.

@So I vote with Bluemukaki, Paulc, Marina.

delirium's avatar

ack! JP! You’re the exception to the rule!! Your hearts are realll!!

jasonjackson's avatar

Yeah, I really do think some kind of sarcasm punctuation would be helpful (seriously, not sarcastically). I’ve seen proposals for using a “squiggle” ~ at the end of a sentence to denote sarcasm. Like so:

Yeah, like that’s going to work.~

One reason I like that idea is because it fits in with using question/exclamation marks at the end of sentences to denote meaning (in English, anyway). And it’s compact, much more so than something like appending ”</sarcasm>”.

Only downside: not many people know about it, so you kind of have to explain yourself, if you’re not texting/IMing/posting to a friend you’ve already explained it to. :-/

robmandu's avatar

I hereby nominate @jasonjackson’s proposal as an informal standard for us to use here at Fluther.

Is there a second to the nomination?

marinelife's avatar

Ok I like this new use of the tilde, which BTW, is what the “squiggle” is called.~

susanc's avatar

So, Marina, are you seconding the motion? I like it because the tilde LOOKS like ambiguity in action.

I propose that those who are paying attention to this thread try it out for awhile and see what happens.

Trustinglife's avatar

That’s a horrible idea.~

Did it work?

bluemukaki's avatar

That’s a horrible idea.

spendy's avatar

Thank goodness everyone’s on the same page.~

cheebdragon's avatar

what about Thats a horrible idea~ ?
it looks more sarcastic, I think…...

Trustinglife's avatar

Yeah, I like that. I think I’d actually read that as sarcasm. Wait, wasn’t that the point?~

Knotmyday's avatar


eambos's avatar

So the ~ is in. Now all sarcasm will be recognized. ~

I hope.

eambos's avatar

I just tried it too. I hope the ignorant folk catch on too.

Trustinglife's avatar

I think Cheeb’s suggestion was so good, it just might work!

eambos's avatar

I don’t really like the ? because oftentimes sarcasm is within a statement.

Good suggestion all the same.

robmandu's avatar

Agree with @Eambos… drop the ? as the ~ is doing the work. I’m optional on italicizing it, as I tend to use italics already quite a bit.

That’s how I plan to roll.

osullivanbr's avatar

Well let’s get out there and be sarcastic then.


Go, Go, Go!!!

eambos's avatar

We’re the cool sarcasm troupe. ~

wildflower's avatar

Well aren’t you lot big and clever!~

eambos's avatar

Aww wildflower, we love you. ~

Just kidding =)

bluemukaki's avatar

You all seem to be ignoring the point that there already is a punctuation mark to dentoe irony or that something should be read at another level. The Point d’Ironie, snark or zing, which looks like this ؟ is the proper symbol to use, if any.

eambos's avatar

It comes up as a box on my browser.

robmandu's avatar

@dammit, bluemukaki! Now you got me all re-thinking the thing.

Turns out that besides the irony mark, there’s also a sarcasm mark. (For some reason, those wiki authors seem to think that irony and sarcasm are somewhat interchangeable terms؟)

For now, I’ll stick with the tilde (~) as it’s universally available. Perhaps, if its use proves popular, the Fluther gods can add its usage to the textile set and the colorize it, or insert an upside-down bang or reversed question mark, whatever.

Hey, if nothing else, thanks for pointing me to the concept. Fun to learn.

eambos's avatar

Im getting used to the ~. Don’t change it!

marinelife's avatar

My laptop does not have a tilde on the keyboard, much to my surprise. I have been having to go to this thread and copy it.

robmandu's avatar

@Marina, what kind of laptop? It’s not over to the left of your “1” key?

marinelife's avatar

There it is! The little devil must have been hiding.~

Thank you. As I am sure I have said before in these pages, I may make much of my living in the high technology industry, but I am both technically challenged and a Luddite.

Knotmyday's avatar

Hooray for Luddism!
Momma says computers are the devil.

YARNLADY's avatar

It sounds like a great idea, but it only works when one realizes they are using sarcasm. I never can tell the difference. To me, I just write what I think, and some people sometimes ask “why the sarcasm?”. I didn’t even know I was using sarcasm.

cheebdragon's avatar

This looks more sarcastic~ than this does.

Response moderated (Spam)
YARNLADY's avatar

So what part of ~ do you not understand?~

Response moderated (Spam)

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